I rise to congratulate the Andrews Labor government on its cooperative work with the federal government and Telstra to maximise funding for the elimination of mobile phone black spots.
The mobile phone network is a vital piece of infrastructure for the 21st century. The mobile phone is ubiquitous these days. Mobile phone black spots are not merely an inconvenience, they are a safety risk.
In times of bushfire the mobile phone is an important source of real-time information in a hazardous and rapidly changing environment. The 109 new phone towers, worth $86 million, will not only keep Victorians safer in times of emergency but will boost regional productivity.
It is estimated that the regional economy will be boosted by $120 million per year when another 12 000 homes experience the benefits of the new towers.
I am most pleased to say that my electorate of Western Victoria Region will be receiving 52 of the 109 towers.
Tiny places such as Muntham and Pigeon Ponds will have improved reception, and the Andrews Labor government will give tourists the infrastructure they expect with the improvements at Cape Otway and Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road.
People in at-risk bushfire areas such as Carlisle River in the Otways and the Victoria Valley will be safer with access to top-class communications infrastructure, and it is good to see that sizable regional towns such as Portland will benefit from this important addition to the state’s infrastructure. I congratulate the government.