Connectivity is the focus of Minister's tour

Western District MP James Purcell will host the Minister for Trade & Investment in roundtable discussions on phone and internet connectivity with local businesses in Warrnambool and Portland tomorrow (18 October).

Minister Phillip Dalidakis will also meet with CFA representatives at Gorae West to hear and experience the difficulties poor coverage and mobile black-spots cause in fire emergencies.

"I invited Minister Dalidakis to visit the south west region and hear first-hand the issues and frustrations experienced by locals businesses and emergency services because of mobile coverage black spots and poor internet services," said Mr Purcell.

"We're very please to be able to show him how bad it is at Gorae West in particular, where firefighters struggle during bushfire season to keep in touch with each other and their base."

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 and poor communication services adds unnecessary stress and confusion to these life-and-death situations," said Mr Purcell.

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

Gorae West has been identified as one of the major problem spots in Mr Purcell's recent online survey asking for input into where the worst black-spots were. 

"It's only through proper consultation with the community that sites like this get the attention they deserve. Otherwise we're reliant on telecommunications companies telling us where they think the need is," Mr Purcell said. 

The  Labor Government's mobile blackspot program has allocated $11 million to solving blackspot issues across the state, putting emphasis on the need for community consultation to identify locations.

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

ENDS

Minister Dalidakis' Itinery

12pm - 1pm - Business Roundtable in Warrnambool
Lighthouse Theatre Meeting Room

2pm - 2.15pm - Site Visit at Gorae West CFA Shed
1651 Heath Rd, Gorae West 

3pm - 4pm - Business Roundtable in Portland
Council Chambers, Glenelg Shire Council, Cliff Street, Portland