darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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May 31, 2013

After mounting pressure from communities affected by mobile phone blackspots the Federal Government has extended the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme for another year according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester, who has been campaigning for the Federal Government to introduce a program to address mobile phone blackspots, said the extension of the program would provide some relief for residents in more remote areas of the region.

The Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme scheme offers those living or working outside of an area of mobile phone coverage a subsidy of 85 per cent of the retail price of a satellite phone up to a maximum of $1000.

Those living in an area with mobile phone but who work or travel outside mobile coverage area more than 180 days over a two-year period are also eligible for a subsidy of 50 per cent of the retail price of a satellite phone up to a maximum of $700.

“Satellite phone services are useful for people living in more remote parts of Gippsland and the extension of the program will be welcomed by some communities,” Mr Chester said.

“The topography of Gippsland makes it difficult to deliver mobile phone coverage into every location across the region and it is imperative that residents in our more remote locations are contactable when accidents or natural disasters occur.

“The Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme is one way residents living in areas without adequate mobile phone coverage can gain access to an important service and any Gippslander living in an area with no terrestrial mobile phone coverage can contact my office for an information pack.

“While the program will provide some small relief to mobile phone coverage issues in several locations, the Federal Government still has a long way to go in addressing the number of mobile phone blackspots in regional areas and should be implementing a program dedicated to resolving these issues.”

Those eligible to apply to the scheme include individuals, small businesses, community and not-for-profit groups, indigenous corporations, emergency services, health organisations and educational institutions.

More information on the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme is available online at www.dbcde.gov.au/satphone and Mr Chester’s office can be contacted on 1300 131 785 or via email at darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au

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