Local, Independant and Effective
September 04, 2017

Independents push together on better mobile phone services ahead of fire season

Independent Member for Cathy McGowan has joined with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie to push the government for more commitment to rural mobile phone services ahead of the next fire season.

In seconding Ms Sharkie’s Bill to compel Telstra to provide 24 back-up power to towers in bushfire prone areas, Ms McGowan has pushed for more funding to address outstanding mobile black spots.

“The Mobile Black Spot Program was a really important part of the government's 2013 election commitment, but they've let the ball drop,” Ms McGowan said.

“I have written to the Prime Minister this week putting the government on notice that in the 2018 budget we expect Round 4 to be well funded. This should be enough for the 200 remaining black spots still outstanding in my electorate of Indi.”

Ms McGowan said the funding was needed to make sure people in rural communities had access to the same services enjoyed by their city cousins.

“It is vitally important for all rural and regional Australia, particularly my electorate of Indi, which is absolutely fire-prone,” Ms McGowan said.

“To all the CFA in Indi, to the SES and to the local government emergency managers: it gives me so much pleasure to work together with the crossbenchers who really care for rural and regional Australia. This is an example of how we bring to parliament issues that the major parties refuse to take up.”

Ms McGowan is encouraging anyone who is seriously affected by power blackouts disrupting telecommunications in the upcoming emergency season to contact her office.

Ms McGowan’s speech can be viewed here

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