Labor pledges to fix mobile black spots at Pottsville, Uki
POTTSVILLE and Uki's notoriously poor mobile phone coverage is set to receive a boost under a Labor Government should the party be elected.
Labor's regional communications spokesperson Stephen Jones and Richmond MP Justine Elliot met Pottsville residents yesterday to announce Labor would allocate up to $2 million to fix mobile blackspots in Lennox Head, Ocean Shores, Pottsville and Uki.
All of these locations were overlooked by the government in Round One of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, the Labor members said.
Despite being within an hour of a major international airport at the Gold Coast, residents in these villages often have little or no signal and are forced to walk outside their homes or use landlines to communicate.
Mr Jones said mobile phone coverage was critical, particularly in times of emergency, and was central to everyday life of residents and businesses.
"Under the Government's watch there were some glaring omissions in the Mobile Black Spot Programme," Mr Jones said.
"There are locations that should have been funded but were not: Lennox Head, Ocean Shores, Pottsville and Uki are examples of this.
"We must do more to help regional communities when it comes to mobile black spots, this is vital infrastructure that people rely on."
Mrs Elliot said the announcement would make a huge difference to local communities.
"The majority of residents in Pottsville, Lennox Head, Ocean Shores and Uki are totally frustrated with Malcolm Turnbull's failed mobile phone rollout, which means they experience poor mobile coverage at home and at work," she said.
"Mr Turnbull's poor mobile coverage impacts families, students and small businesses in our region. We have a local economy that is dependent on tourism and retail so mobile phone coverage is vital."
Mrs Elliot said the lack of coverage was of particular concern for the region's elderly residents who relied on connections to stay in touch with family and friends.
She said coverage at Uki in the Tweed Valley, where little or no signal is available, was also crucial from a safety point of view.
"The Uki region is in close proximity to Mt Warning, which attracts thousands of tourists each year," she said.
"This area suffers from little to no coverage bringing with it a whole range of challenging access, business and safety issues for locals and tourists."
Of the 499 mobile towers funded in Round One of the Mobile Black Spot Programme, as of May 4, only 21 had been switched on.