16 October 2017

New mobile base stations for Gellibrand and Kawarren

I am delighted that the Turnbull government’s $220m investment in fixing mobile black spots has delivered new mobile base stations for Gellibrand and Kawarren.

Gellibrand, Kawarren and the surrounding areas now have access to Telstra’s 3G and superfast 4GX mobile coverage.  This is such a big win for the community and I want to thank local residents for their advocacy.

Local residents, as well as motorists travelling to and from the Great Ocean Road, have suffered from poor mobile communications for far too long.

In 2014, I convened a community meeting at Gellibrand with the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, about the need for better communications.  It was a packed house, with mobile black spots the biggest issue.

In 2015, I secured mobile phone blackspot funding commitments for Gellibrand and Kawarren along with six other locations; and now at last we are seeing Telstra deliver on this new infrastructure in partnership with the Turnbull government.

My strong message is – every community matters.

I want to thank the people of Gellibrand and Kawarren for their patience and want to particularly mention Corrie Koorn of the Otways Tourist Park who has been a very strong advocate for better mobile reception.

Across Corangamite, the Turnbull government is funding 18 new mobile base stations.  Barongarook, Carlisle River, Yeodene and Hordern Vale are also active with Apollo Bay and Steiglitz to be commissioned shortly.

However, I am extremely disappointed by delays with the construction of a mobile base station at Dereel and have raised my concerns with Telstra.

I have been a very strong local voice for the needs of towns in areas of high bushfire risk.  Mobile communication is vital not just for small businesses, residents and tourists but for firefighters and other emergency service personnel.

Despite being in government for six years, Labor did not spend one dollar on fixing mobile black spots in regional Australia. I am very proud our government is making such significant progress in fixing mobile black spots across Corangamite.

More information about the programme and the rollout schedule is available at www.communications.gov.au/mobile_coverage

13 October 2017