Kan­coona on blackspot fix list

Alpine Observer - - News -

ALPINE mayor Ron Janas be­lieves Kan­coona should be top of the list for any mo­bile blackspot fixes.

His com­ments come fol­low­ing the State Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent an­nounce­ment that $11mil­lion will be in­vested to build new mo­bile phone tow­ers in re­gional Vic­to­ria.

Alpine Coun­cil is among sev­eral ru­ral coun­cils set to bid for a share of the avail­able fund­ing.

Kan­coona has long been an area of con­cern for res­i­dents in the Kiewa Val­ley with com­mu­ni­ca­tion para­mount to peo­ple’s safety and peace of mind.

“I re­mem­bered an in­ci­dent where a man’s car caught fire and he was un­able to call out the fire brigade,” Cr Janas said.

“It’s ridicu­lous; it could hap­pen to any­body and a fire can start and spread so very quickly.

“Kan­coona was of course one of the badly af­fected ar­eas of Black Satur­day.

“It (mo­bile cov­er­age) would give peo­ple much bet­ter se­cu­rity.”

Cr Janas, who lives in Buf­falo River, has seen first-hand the ben­e­fits of im­proved phone cov­er­age, his lo­cal­ity was a re­cent ben­e­fi­ciary of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram.

A new tower built near Buf­falo River was re­cently ac­ti­vated which he said would help put an end to peo­ple be­ing un­able to con­nect to emer­gency ser­vices in the case of a cri­sis at places like Lake Buf­falo.

“It (the new tow­ers) has been a boost for our com­mu­nity and we have more tourists go­ing out that way all the time,” Cr Janas said.

“Campers and hol­i­day go­ers are more likely to visit the re­gion now that they are able to stay con­nected and safe through mo­bile re­cep­tion.

“Be­ing able to use your de­vice any­where and ev­ery­where is im­por­tant; peo­ple up here on hol­i­day are usu­ally on a work­ing hol­i­day.

“Some of the ques­tions they ask our tourist op­er­a­tors are whether there is Wi- Fi or mo­bile phone con­nec­tion and if there isn’t they will go some­where else.”

Cr Janas said the in­creased con­nec­tion also makes the area more liveable and that fam­i­lies were “ab­so­lutely” more likely to move to the area.

“Small start-up busi­nesses need that level of elec­tronic tech­nol­ogy,” he said.

“They come up here for the life­style and to bring their chil­dren up in this beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment but if they can’t earn an in­come they may as well stay where they are.”

Vic­to­rian Min­is­ter for Trade and In­vest­ments Phillip Dal­i­dakis - who is re­spon­si­ble for se­lect­ing where the tow­ers will go - told rep­re­sen­ta­tives from North East coun­cils dur­ing a re­cent visit to Wodonga that the gov­ern­ment’s se­lec­tion process would be driven by gen­uine need.

Cathy Mc­Gowan (MHR, Indi) con­tin­ues to press for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment - par­tic­u­larly the Na­tional Party and its Vic­to­rian Se­na­tor Brid­get McKen­zie, Min­is­ter for Re­gional Com­mu­ni­ca­tions - to com­mit to a fourth round of blackspot fund­ing.

BY TATE SPI­TERI

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