Member for Morwell Russell Northe has used question time question time as Parliament resumes this week, to highlight the ongoing frustration of many local residents who continually have to contend with unreliable and poor mobile phone reception.
“I’ve called upon the State Government to address this long-standing issue in my community”, Mr Northe said, speaking from Spring Street earlier today. “Townships such as Toongabbie and Cowwarr have intermittent or poor mobile phone reception, which is not only a huge risk during emergency events but it also impacts people doing business in these towns or on their farms”.
“When there’s a threat of bushfire or flood emergency, people rely upon a variety of resources to keep themselves informed and to keep in contact with those around them, but unreliable or non-existent mobile phone reception removes this ability”.
“I’m in constant contact with local residents people from these towns, including CFA members, business owners, farmers and those with vulnerable family members who are angry and frustrated that in 2020 their phone reception is so poor”, Mr Northe continued. “There have been multiple mobile blackspot Federal and State funding rounds but unfortunately these towns are just being overlooked to date”.
“Yesterday I asked the State Government to work with the Federal Government and telecommunication service providers to fix mobile black spot areas in the Morwell electorate including within the Toongabbie and Cowwarr communities”.
“Unfortunately beyond Toongabbie and Cowwarr there are a number of other localities within the Morwell electorate who struggle with reliable mobile phone reception and this needs to be remedied”, Mr Northe said.
Member of the Toongabbie Township Group Graham Berrett said, “Toongabbie is in a Mobile Black Spot with reception varying from unreliable to non-existent. Calls drop out for no apparent reason causing in some cases severe inconvenience. The unreliability of the network here in Toongabbie has long been a deep frustration for residence”.
“We acutely feel the disadvantage of poor mobile coverage daily. Toongabbie’s increase in population and fire risk due to the proximity of the bush should be considerations. Toongabbie residents have been under severe fire threat in 2006 and 2019 and the unreliability of the network in emergency situations increases our vulnerability”, Mr Berrett said.