McGowan wants bet­ter mo­bile ser­vice be­fore fire sea­son

Mansfield Courier - - OPINIONS/PEOPLE -

IN­DE­PEN­DENT mem­ber for Indi Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) has joined with mem­ber for Mayo Re­bekha Sharkie to push the gov­ern­ment for more com­mit­ment to ru­ral mo­bile phone ser­vices ahead of the next fire sea­son.

In sec­ond­ing Ms Sharkie’s Bill to com­pel Tel­stra to pro­vide 24-hour back-up power to tow­ers in bush­fire prone ar­eas, Ms McGowan has pushed for more fund­ing to ad­dress out­stand­ing mo­bile black spots.

“The Mo­bile Black Spot Pro­gram was a re­ally im­por­tant part of the gov­ern­ment’s 2013 elec­tion com­mit­ment, but they’ve let the ball drop,” Ms McGowan said.

“I have writ­ten to the Prime Min­is­ter this week putting the gov­ern­ment on no­tice that in the 2018 bud­get we ex­pect Round 4 to be well funded.

“This should be enough for the 200 re­main­ing black spots still out­stand­ing in my elec­torate of Indi.”

Ms McGowan said the fund­ing was needed to make sure peo­ple in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties had ac­cess to the same ser­vices en­joyed by their city cousins.

“It is vi­tally im­por­tant for all ru­ral and re­gional Aus­tralia, par­tic­u­larly my elec­torate of Indi, which is ab­so­lutely fire-prone,” Ms McGowan said.

“To all the CFA in Indi, to the SES and to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment emer­gency man­agers, it gives me so much plea­sure to work to­gether with the cross­benchers that re­ally care for ru­ral and re­gional Aus­tralia.

“This is an ex­am­ple of how we bring to par­lia­ment is­sues that the ma­jor par­ties refuse to take up.”

Ms McGowan is en­cour­ag­ing any­one who is se­ri­ously af­fected by power black­outs dis­rupt­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the up­com­ing emer­gency sea­son to con­tact her of­fice.

NO SIG­NAL: Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) says that fund­ing is still needed to make sure peo­ple in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties have ac­cess to the same mo­bile ser­vices en­joyed by their city cousins.

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