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January 18, 2012

Gippslanders are being urged to register mobile phone blackspots to highlight the need for a Federal Government program to ensure the safety of local communities in times of natural disaster.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester last week raised concerns that the Federal and State Government’s announcement of a Location Based Solution for emergency warnings would not benefit all communities in Gippsland.

He has now urged Gippslanders to register mobile phone blackspots with his office so that he can highlight to the appropriate Ministers the specific local communities where residents and visitors will not be able to receive warnings when the new system comes into operation.

“Mobile phone coverage has improved significantly over the past 10 years but as I travel throughout the region, I’m aware of many blackspots,” Mr Chester said.

“While the development of a system that can provide warnings based on the location of the mobile phone is a major step forward, there are still a number of communities in Gippsland which are unable to receive warnings because of poor mobile phone coverage.

“Of real concern is the fact that the areas with the poorest coverage are also among the highest risk communities for bushfires and floods.

“A mobile phone blackspots program should accompany the rollout of the emergency warning system to ensure that residents and visitors to regional communities have access to the technology.”

Mr Chester said Gippslanders could register mobile phone blackspots by contacting his office.

“There are several blackspots that I encounter on a daily basis but I’m keen to hear from all communities which receive little or no mobile phone coverage, particularly if it has an impact on business or if they have an influx of visitors each year who will expect to be able to access this new system,” Mr Chester said.

“Despite having contacted the Minister on behalf of these communities and spoken in Parliament on several occasions in relation to this issue, the Gillard Government has refused to adopt Coalition policy of a mobile blackspots program in partnership with telecommunications providers.”

To register a mobile phone blackspot please contact Mr Chester’s office on 5144 6744 or email

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