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Gippslanders will next week have a chance to have their say on the quality and availability of mobile telephone and internet services in their area.

Locals will be able to take part in public consultations in Bairnsdale next Tuesday, July 31, as part of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review.

The six-member Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee is examining telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said mobile telephone coverage was one of the review committee’s main areas of interest.

“The committee will look at how the Mobile Black Spot Program has changed mobile phone coverage outside the metropolitan area and the extent of the remaining gaps,” Mr Chester said.

“Most people value good mobile coverage and internet access. For those who live and work in regional or remote areas, reliable telecommunication services have additional importance.

“Given our region’s undulating landscape, it remains a challenge to achieve blanket mobile phone reception across Gippsland, but the Federal Government is working to target problem areas and improve mobile phone coverage for as many communities as possible.”

Mr Chester said the review committee would also consider how regional communities could maximise the economic benefits of digital technologies and how they could get more benefits from their broadband service.

“Bairnsdale is one of more than 20 locations across Australia where face-to-face consultations are being held, so this is a good chance for those who can attend to provide feedback,” Mr Chester said.

“Gippslanders who can’t get there next week can make their views known to the committee by making a submission online.”

Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee community consultation will be held at the Bairnsdale RSL, 2 Bairnsdale-Forge Creek Road, Bairnsdale from 10.30am to midday on Tuesday, July 31.

Submissions close on Sunday, August 5 at 5pm and can be made by email or through the Department of Communications and Arts website.  For details, visit http://rtirc.gov.au/consultation.html

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