I am delighted to announce with the Minister for Regional Communications, Senator Bridget McKenzie, that Telstra will be partnering with the Turnbull government to deliver a new “macrocell” mobile base station for Birregurra under our government’s $220 million Mobile Black Spot Program.
“Smallcell” mobile base station upgrades will also be delivered for Bellbrae, Anglesea and Aireys Inlet. It is expected that these upgrades will be completed by the end of the year.
Consistent with our election commitment, these investments in improved mobile communications are a big win for the Surf Coast and Birregurra communities.
This is vital infrastructure for small businesses, families, farmers and the tourism industry.
Birregurra, a booming tourist town, has been plagued by poor mobile reception. Several years ago I joined locals in a community protest calling on Telstra to install a permanent “cell on wheels” base station in the town. After much lobbying, Telstra installed a smallcell upgrade for the main street. But much greater mobile reception is required for Birregurra and district. A new mobile phone tower for Birregurra is a big win for this community.
The Turnbull Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program is improving mobile coverage across Australian including along major regional transport routes, in small communities and at identified priority locations.
While not impacting on the delivery of these mobile upgrades, it is unacceptable that the Victorian Labor government turned its back on the people of Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Bellbrae and Birregurra by reneging on a funding commitment to this round of our Blackspots Program.
Our commitment is also in stark contrast to the previous Federal Labor government which did not invest one dollar in improving mobile communications.
Under the government’s Blackspot Program, the Corangamite electorate has received funding for a total of 18 base stations as follows:
- Completed and live: Carlisle River, Gellibrand, Kawarren, Barangarook, Yeodone, Steiglitz, Dereel, Hordern Vale
- Due for completion this year: Apollo Bay, Barwon Downs, Cape Otway, Kennett River, Lorne south, Separation Creek, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Bellbrae and Birregurra (timing to be confirmed for Birregurra)
I am extremely pleased that areas of high bushfire risk have been prioritised including along the Great Ocean Road, in the Otways and in Dereel.
I wish to acknowledge the many constituents who have worked with me advocating for improved mobile reception. I will continue to fight for greater investment in mobile communications throughout the Corangamite electorate including for Moggs Creek and Teesdale. I encourage local residents who wish to raise other blackspot areas with me to contact my office.