Local, Independant and Effective

Indigo petition calls for better communications services

Posted March 01, 2016

 

CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (16:22): On 20 December 2015 a large fire broke out near Barnawartha and spread through the Indigo and Chiltern valleys, burning four homes, over 7,000 hectares, 500 livestock and 30 outbuildings. The local CFA and community responded extraordinarily well, but many of the communities affected by these fires were not able to send and receive text messages, check their fire ready apps for notification, or coordinate their responses with their neighbours because (1) they do not have internet, (2) they do not have reliable mobile coverage, and (3) ageing landline infrastructure often results in intermittent service.

I commend Mr Troy Williams of Chiltern, who led a petition for better mobile phone and internet services and collected over 132 signatures in the week following the fires. I am delighted to bring this petition to the House. I make my commitment to present it today.

To the Indigo and Chiltern valleys, along with other mobile phone black spot locations in the Indigo shire, I have made a commitment to bring this issue to the government and have it included in round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program. I also acknowledge the presence of the mayor and the CEO of Indigo shire, who are with me today, and I call on the government and the telcos to release the guidelines for round 2 so that we actually know what we are talking about. I call on them to make emergency response and safety two considerations in these guidelines, so that our community without services becomes an absolute priority.