darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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August 19, 2013

Lakes Entrance and Lake Tyers Beach stand to benefit under a plan to improve mobile phone coverage and upgrade telecommunications services to meet seasonal demand, according to Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester said the Coalition would provide $80 million for mobile phone black spots and $20 million for system upgrades if it won government at the federal election on September 7.

“I’ve been working closely with Telstra and also our Shadow Minister Malcolm Turnbull to highlight concerns about mobile phone black spots and the decline in service when attempting to download data during the peak holiday periods,” Mr Chester said.

“Last Christmas we experienced a spike in demand which made it virtually impossible to use mobile devices and it’s pleasing to see the issue is being worked on as a matter of urgency. For the sake of visitors and locals, we need to improve coverage and the reliability of services across East Gippsland.”

Mr Chester said he would be working to make sure that the Gippsland electorate received a fair share of the funding.

“There have been improvements in mobile phone coverage in recent years as technology has become more advanced but residents from at least 20 communities in Gippsland have indicated to my office that they do not currently have access to adequate mobile phone coverage,” Mr Chester said.

“A Coalition Government will address this issue by building hundreds of much needed base stations across Australia and will partner with affected communities, the State Government and telecommunications companies to leverage additional funds.”

Mr Chester said 60 per cent of Gippslanders that responded to his recent ‘Have Your Say’ survey believed that the Federal Government should help pay to fix mobile phone black spots.

The Coalition’s $100 million Mobile Phone Black Spot Program includes:

* $80 million for a Mobile Network Expansion Program to improve coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and in locations prone to experiencing natural disasters;

* $20 million for a Mobile Black Spot Program to address unique problems such as locations with high seasonal demand and deliver a targeted response and;

* Co-location of new mobile phone base stations with many of the NBN’s fixed wireless broadband towers that are being rolled out across regional Australia – a sensible solution that has not happened under Labor.

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