Bush black spots raised with Tony Abbott
TELECOMMUNICATIONS black spots have been a constant talking point in regional Queensland, and now federal member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has the ear of Prime Minister Tony Abbott on the matter.
Mr O'Dowd last week took Banana Shire mayor Ron Carige to meet with Mr Abbott, with the main focus of discussions being telecommunications black spots in the bush.
"We have a very grave situation in rural areas, where there is a severe lack of adequate mobile communications, and this can be dangerous if there is an emergency, as we saw during the recent floods," O'Dowd said.
"The good news though is that our government has committed $100 million through the Black Spot Programme to improve telecommunications in the bush."
There has been renewed interest in rural communications in the wake of the Callide Dam review, which recommended that the Banana Shire Council should improve measures to alert residents of potential emergencies.
Cr Carige's meeting with the Prime Minister was one of several organised for the mayor by Mr O'Dowd, intended to put a focus on achieving positive outcomes for his region.
"We also met with Paul Fletcher and he is very supportive of our position and wants to assist wherever he can," Councillor Carige said.
"When successful tenders for the Black Spot Programme are announced at the end of this month, either way he wants to talk to us again so that we can plan a way forward."
Mr O'Dowd has written to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, further explaining the problems facing families in rural areas without adequate communication.
"At the moment I'm bending the ears of all my parliamentary colleagues, because this is a serious issue," the member for Flynn said.
"Successful tenders to provide mobile network infrastructure will begin laying base stations in
Mr O'Dowd has put forward three suitable locations for base stations to be positioned, in keeping with the Black Spot Programme's regulations.
Currently, it is proposed that base stations be built at Jambin in Banana Shire, Dingo in the Central Highlands, and Boyne Valley in the Gladstone region.