Mobile black spots are a real source of irritation for our country communities. They are also an impediment to the growth of country communities, including being an impediment to decentralisation and also business expansion. They can also be downright dangerous in an emergency. The residents of the Lowther and Kanimbla Valley communities have been pushing hard for a new mobile phone tower in the area for many years now. But, despite the site being nominated for funding through the federal government's Mobile Black Spot Program, Telstra has so far not made an application to co-fund the site.
The whole aim of the Mobile Black Spot Program is for government to partner with telcos in order to clear up some of these black spots. However, in order for all of these bad areas and black spots to be cleared up, the telcos have to actually want to build the tower there. Unfortunately, to date, neither Telstra nor the other telcos have put in any application for federal black spot funding at the Lowther and Kanimbla Valley site. The bottom line is that without an application from Telstra or one of the other telcos a new tower simply will not happen.
I have been working with the Lowther and Kanimbla Valley communities for some time now. We have an opportunity to get funding for this location and other locations in Calare. One location is Wattle Flat, which is north of Bathurst. That community has been pushing for a new tower there for many years. However, the issue is that Telstra and the other telcos need to play their part and show some interest in these sites. Round 4 of the government's Mobile Black Spot Program is now open. I'm calling on Telstra and the other telcos to come to the party and make an application for this site and others.