Call for input into mobile coverage blackspots

Community input into new mobile phone tower locations is needed in preparation for a visit from the Minister for Trade & Investment on 18 October.

Last month Western District MP James Purcell invited Minister Dalidakis to visit the region to meet with the community and emergency services to discuss new tower options.

"We will present the Minister with a list of possible locations for new mobile phone towers in the south west that take into account areas of need identified by the community and emergency services," Mr Purcell said.

"A proposal to put a new tower at Tower Hill was squashed by the community earlier this year. It wasn't a good location and the community were right to say no to it. But we can't punish them for speaking up, or walk away from the need.

An online survey to identify blackspots and allow the community to share their concerns with the Minister has been set up at https://www.jamespurcell.com.au/mobile-coverage-blackspots/

Mr Purcell said proper consultation with the community and the inclusion of local emergency service teams in these discussions was important for identifying coverage blackspots and finding appropriate locations.

"Irrespective of postcodes, all Victorians deserve access to quality mobile coverage without blackspots," he said.

The Andrews’ Labor Government has created a Victorian based mobile blackspot program after withdrawing from a Commonwealth initiative due to concerns with the federal program’s lack of community consultation.

Mr Purcell said he understood that the vast majority of the $11 million had not been allocated and the government was working closely with Emergency Management Victoria to ensure locations for towers are based on merit and transparency, rather than "pork-barrelling". 

In south-west Victoria there are many places including areas in and around Portland and Hawkesdale, which need a mobile tower desperately.

Mr Purcell said the recent St Patrick's day fires highlighted that black spots have the potential to put lives at risk.

"Fire is unfortunately a regular occurrence in regional Victoria.

"Proper consultation with communities and fire services is essential before new tower locations were decided on," he said.

ENDS

Complete the survey below: