Latrobe Valley residents struggling with poor phone reception will benefit from a $150 million package to improve mobile coverage and broadband services if The Nationals are elected to government.
The package includes rebates for people in areas with poor mobile coverage to install mobile boosters in vehicles, homes, and businesses.
The announcement comes as the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman today released its annual report, which shows poor mobile coverage continues to be a regular issue for consumers, with complaints increasing by 6.1 per cent in the past year.
The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath has been advocating in State Parliament this year for the Labor Government to do more to improve mobile coverage across Latrobe Valley and Gippsland, where multiple blackspots exist.
“The Andrews Government is prioritising 5G in Melbourne, while leaving many of our regional and rural areas to struggle on one bar of 3G.
“The inequality within Labor’s Connecting Victoria Mobile Program is stark – 76 of the 97 strategic locations for mobile upgrades are city based, with suburbs Richmond, Brunswick and Broadmeadows prioritised for a 5G upgrades over country areas struggling on 3G.
“The Nationals Connecting Country Communities program would ensure rural and regional Victorians would not continue to have second-class mobile coverage.
“The woeful telephone reception in communities such as Glengarry, Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Churchill, Hazelwood, Jeeralang, Yallourn North and Tyers makes doing daily business and getting an education difficult.”
The Nationals candidate for Morwell, Martin Cameron welcomed today’s announcement to improve mobile coverage in areas with poor connectivity which is an issue across many of our smaller Latrobe Valley towns.
“In a world where we are all being pushed towards the internet in almost every aspect of our lives, it’s critical for all Latrobe Valley residents to have an improved and reliable connectivity,” said Mr Cameron.
“If you’re going to school, running a business, accessing telehealth, staying safe in an emergency you must be able to access reliable service – The Nationals $150 million package to improve mobile coverage and broadband services is much needed.
“Our banks and all government services are all moving to online-only, poor connectivity really impacts rural people.
“Many locals are justifiably fed up with services that drop out and mobile blackspots – at best it’s an inconvenience, at worst it’s a matter of life or death.
“The Nationals are committed to addressing mobile blackspots and unreliable broadband services, so regional communities can have access to same services as our city counterparts.”