Local, Independant and Effective

Thowgla and Nariel communities call for better mobile phone coverage -petition presented

Posted May 05, 2016

 

CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (10:14): It gives me great pleasure to be here today on our last day of term, as it feels, and to bring this really important matter to the attention of the House. I would like to present to the house two petitions that have been approved by the committee.

The petitions read as follows—

TO THE HONOURABLE THE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

This petition of the residents and landowners of the Thowgla Valley and Nariel Valley, Shire of Towong, Federal Seat of Indi, Victoria,

draws to the attention of the House: to the need for mobile telephone coverage in both the valleys detailed above. The valleys are virtually side by side geographically, and neither presently has mobile coverage. They are both in a high danger bush fire area. A bushfire can easily cut power and landline telephone services to the areas designated, removing the ability for any of the residents or visitors to monitor their personal safety or the level of danger to other persons and property.

We therefore ask the House to instruct the Federal Minister for Communications of the Department of Communications and the Arts to ensure that the Telstra Corporation installs the facility for mobile telephone coverage in both the Thowgla Valley and the Nariel Valley without delay. In addition we respectfully request that the House advises us, through our Principle Petitioner, when the requested services will be provided.

from 129 citizens

TO THE HONOURABLE THE SPEAKER AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

This petition of the friends and relatives of the residents and landowners of, and of the visitors to, the Thowgla Valley and Nariel Valley, Shire of Towong, Federal Seat of Indi, Victoria,

draws to the attention of the House: to the need for mobile telephone coverage in both the valleys detailed above. The valleys are virtually side by side geographically, and neither presently has mobile coverage. They are both in a high danger bush fire area. A bushfire can easily cut power and landline telephone services to the areas designated, removing the ability for any of the residents or visitors to monitor their personal safety or the level of danger to other persons and property.

We therefore ask the House to: instruct the Federal Minister for Communications of the Department of Communications and the Arts to ensure that the Telstra Corporation installs the facility for mobile telephone coverage in both the Thowgla Valley and the Nariel Valley without delay. In addition we respectfully request that the House advises us, through our Principal Petitioner, when the requested services will be provided.

from 53 citizens

Petitions received.

Ms McGOWAN:  The principal petitioner, it gives me great pleasure to say, is Mrs Sue Sullivan.

I would now like to talk about these petitions and why they are so important. The communities of Nariel Creek and Thowgla Valley are in the more isolated areas of north-east Victoria. They are up near Corryong. If you travel south from Corryong heading towards Benambra, in Gippsland, you travel through the Nariel Valley to reach them. So they are right up in the hill country of rural and regional Australia. There are many, many people who live there. There are many people who visit there to visit family and friends and then participate in the outdoor sports that are a growing characteristic of this region.

We have no mobile phone coverage, and we regularly have bushfires that sweep through this hill country. In 2003, massive fires came through there. Many, many areas were burned. The need for mobile phone coverage was then noted, but nothing has happened.

And then, when I went to look at the budget, the Treasurer said, 'This is a plan for Australia,' but it was not a plan for rural and regional Australia. There was no plan for mobile phone coverage, no round 3 and no round 4. So I call on the government to seriously commit to making sure that, wherever you are in rural and regional Australia, you can use your mobile phones. It is not only the people up in these isolated valleys; it is the people in Beechworth; it is the people in Yackandandah. The people in Wooragee cannot even use their phones. We need a national plan, but it needs to include mobile phone coverage so that, wherever you are in this wonderful country, you can do what the people in the city can do, which is use your mobile phone.


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