Yarriambiack Shire offers mobile phone black spot plea to Federal Government

Yarriambiack Shire Council has offered to offset costs to the Federal Government to improve mobile phone coverage in the area. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

Yarriambiack Shire Council has offered to offset costs to the Federal Government to improve mobile phone coverage in the area. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

YARRIAMBIACK Shire Council has ramped up its fight against mobile phone black spots with a plea to the Federal Government.

Council has offered to offset costs to the Federal Government to improve mobile phone coverage in the area.

Council made a submission to the government about the contribution it could make towards the installation of towers in the shire.

Editorial: Wimmera mobile phone coverage push must go on

Infrastructure and planning director James Magee said council requested towers at Yaapeet, Patchewollock and Lubeck.

A lack of mobile phone coverage caused issues during bushfires in January.

Mayor Andrew McLean said fire-fighters had issues contacting others as they battled the Yaapeet blaze.

“There was certainly that concern,” he said.

He said people had their mobile phones on them but the phones were useless due to lack of reception.

The Yaapeet community has been rallying Telstra for a communications tower since the start of the year.

During January’s fires, Yaapeet woman Jan Edelsten slammed the lack of mobile phone coverage in the area.

“We’ve got a desperate need for a mobile phone service,” she said.

“Emergency services out in the fires – they haven’t got any service, just their radios.

“Strike teams can’t contact their families after they’ve been fighting the fires to let them know they’re safe.”

In its submission to the government, council said it was willing to provide access to council land if available and suitable.

Mr Magee said council would also provide civil works to the value of $10,000 at each site.

Cr McLean said the towers would probably require financial benefit for the government before they were approved.

He said he hoped offering support would prioritise the shire with the government.

“We’d like to think it could,” he said.

But he acknowledged the huge cost involved with installation of a communications tower.

“Our contribution is only a small amount,” he said.

Cr McLean said he knew Member for Mallee Andrew Broad had fought for improved reception for the region.

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