Petition - communities of Thowgla and Nariel valleys need mobile phone coverage
Posted May 04, 2016
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:39): Access to mobile phone coverage is a fundamental right for all Australians but particularly so in rural and regional Australia. Wherever you are in this country you should be able to use your mobile phone. Today I bring a petition from residents of my community asking this House to consider the issue of access to mobile phone services for the residents, families, friends and visitors to the Thowgla and Nariel valleys. The valleys are side-by-side geographically and neither presently has mobile phone coverage.
The valleys are in a bushfire risk area and bushfires regularly cut power to landline telephone services, removing any ability of residents or visitors to monitor their own personal safety or the level of danger to their neighbours and the surrounding community. In 2003 the principal petitioner—and I would like to acknowledge Sue Sullivan for her work—personally experienced driving out from her property through a bushfire. Thirteen years have passed and no action has been taken to improve communications in the valleys.
I call on the government to listen to the voices from the valleys of north-east Victoria and to take action to improve telecommunications in the valleys. We have had round 1, which was very successful, and we are currently working on round 2. I am looking forward to tonight's budget to hear the government's commitment to rounds 3 and 4 so that wherever you are in this great country of ours you are able to use your mobile phone.