90 second statement – Mobile Telephone Coverage Petition
Mr PITT (Hinkler) (13:37): I table a petition containing 606 signatures which draws to the attention of the House the severe lack of mobile phone coverage in Doolbi, Horton, Abington, Goodwood, North Isis and Redridge in my electorate of Hinkler. The petition has been considered by the Standing Committee on Petitions and certified as being in accordance with the standing orders. In August this year, I met with the principal petitioner, Jennifer Symons, to discuss the fact that areas surrounding Childers do not even have SOS phone coverage. The region is home to many seniors and some of our biggest farms. They are unable to call for help in an emergency and are asking the House for funding to co-locate mobile phone equipment on the recently constructed NBN towers. This is an issue I have raised with my ministerial colleagues on numerous occasions. In April last year, Paul Fletcher, the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, visited the electorate. We met with residents and businesses to discuss mobile telephone black spots across the region. We encouraged locals to make submissions for round one of the coalition’s $20 million Mobile Black Spot Program before 28 February, 2015. On 7 July last year, I formally nominated several Hinkler locations for the program. This included areas near Childers, such as Goodwood. From the public submissions and sites nominated by MPs, the Department of Communications compiled a database of locations that was shared with mobile network operators to help them prepare their proposals for funding. I was deeply disappointed that no Hinkler locations were successful under round one of the program. I look forward to round two opening and I look forward to a much better outcome in securing something for Childers.