Wimmera mobile phone black spots focus of tour

PARLIAMENTARY Secretary to the Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher will visit the Wimmera on Friday.

Mobile phone black spots will be a major focus.

Touring with Member for Mallee Andrew Broad, Mr Fletcher will visit fire-ravaged Wartook Valley, Brimpaen couple Luke and Rachel Dunn’s property and Northern Grampians Shire Council’s Stawell offices.

“Visiting the electorate with the Member for Mallee will enable me to gain feedback on how mobile phone coverage might be improved in the Wimmera-Mallee, and the areas of greatest concern,” Mr Fletcher said. 

Several Wimmera organisations made submissions to the Federal Government’s

$100-million Mobile Coverage Program about the region’s black spots.

The program has two components – an $80-million Mobile Network Expansion Project, to be spent on improving mobile phone coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters; and a $20-million Mobile Black Spots Project, addressing unusual mobile coverage problems.

Mr Broad and his staff, Wimmera Development Association and Central Highlands councils were among those who submitted documents for the Mobile Coverage Program.

All submissions called for investment in the Wimmera’s tele-communications infrastructure.

Mr Broad said Mr Fletcher’s visit would be an important step in highlighting the seriousness of the region’s mobile phone black spots, particularly during emergencies.

“Many residents experienced life-threatening situations during the fire period, and this only reinforced how important it is to have reliable communication services,” he said.

“I will continue to advocate for better communication services in the Wimmera and Mallee.”

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