Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed news the Productivity Commission will investigate the viability of a mobile broadband capability for public safety agencies.
Treasurer Joe Hockey, Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Justice Michael Keenan have tasked the Productivity Commission to conduct a study into the possibility of creating a national mobile broadband network.
“I want to thank the Government for acting on the concerns of communities in regional Australia. It shows the Government is willing to listen to the people on this important and serious issue,” Ms McGowan said.
“The lack of mobile phone coverage is the number one issue in my electorate of Indi. People are continually reporting black spot issues to the office. People are also asking when the sites for the $100 million Mobile Phone Black Spot Programme are being announced.”
In a speech in Parliament last week, Ms McGowan relayed Karen Purss’ terrifying experience with not being able to call triple zero at the scene of a car accident at Berringama. Mrs Purss called on the Government to act to provide better mobile phone access.
“Her (Mrs Purss) message was simple: mobile phone coverage is not an optional extra in regional Australia,” Ms McGowan said.
The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to consider 2020 as a date for potentially starting the network. Ms McGowan would be grateful if the timeline could be reduced.
“I will be working with the Government to see if the date can be brought forward. This is an urgent issue that needs addressing,” Ms McGowan said.
Terms of reference for the Public Safety Mobile Broadband study can be found here. More information is available at the Productivity Commission website. Submissions are welcome and the report is expected in December 2015.