Innovation will be key in The Nationals and Liberals’ plan to address mobile blackspots across Gippsland while maintaining mobile service during emergencies will also be tackled.
The Nationals in government will provide eligible Gippslanders in areas with poor mobile coverage a rebate to install mobile boosters in vehicles, homes and businesses to ensure they have the coverage they need when they need it.
The subsidy is part of a statewide $150 million Connecting Country Communities program which will secure better mobile coverage and broadband services for regional and rural areas.
The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said addressing coverage issues through the use of technology such as mobile boosters would not only make day-to-day tasks easier for many Gippslanders but would also improve the resilience of the community.
“Many residents in Gippsland South have been left with second-class mobile coverage for too long,” Mr O’Brien said.
“These rural blackspots are not just impacting homes, but also workplaces for much of the farming and wider agricultural sector.
“Access to mobile service will not only make running the business smoother but ensure they can stay connected in times of emergency.”
Mr O’Brien said the significant storm events of 2021 and the Black Summer bushfires had demonstrated the severe impact on communities without mobile coverage during an emergency.
“The Connecting Country Communities program will also fund works to strengthen mobile towers to ensure they are working when we need them most.
“My office was inundated with calls from locals who had been left in the dark literally and figuratively during the prolonged power outages of 2021.
“Residents were forced to drive into neighbouring towns for phone reception just so that could find out what was happening and where they could access support.
“For many, this was an extremely stressful ordeal that added to what was an already challenging time.”
The $150 million program will address several issues plaguing country communities including mobile blackspots, slow and unreliable broadband services as well as disaster-proofing mobile towers.
“For regional communities like those that make up our electorate of Gippsland South, improving mobile coverage is about far more than fixing an inconvenience, it’s about ensuring that our people are safe in their homes and at work.”