Digital connection at the South East will receive a boost with a $688,700 partnership to tackle a major mobile phone black spot affecting the Glenburnie rural community.
The Marshall Liberal Government, the District Council of Grant and Telstra have agreed to partner together to deliver a new mobile tower.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said digital connection is vital for regional communities.
“The Marshall Liberal Government has long-recognised the importance of effective telecommunications as critical infrastructure for our rural and regional communities,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Mobile phone coverage and connectivity is vital for people living in regional areas, especially at a time like this, when COVID-19 restrictions mean that many families are in isolation and are heavily reliant on mobile coverage to stay connected.
“Improved mobile coverage also leads to economic development opportunities for new and existing businesses and improved service delivery in areas such as health and education.
“Unfortunately, the former Labor Government saw a large backlog in mobile phone black spots across South Australia develop, an issue we remain committed to proactively addressing by working with federal and local governments as well as telecommunications providers.
“In developing state priorities for mobile black spot funding, the District Council of Grant came forward and was willing to invest $50,000 to elevate the Glenburnie saleyards up the priority list.
“There is a clear community and economic driver to addressing this black spot, and today’s announcement demonstrates the Marshall Liberal Government’s clear commitment to support those regional communities who step forward and say they have a stake in delivering solutions.”
Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell said improved mobile phone and data coverage at Glenburnie will be significant for the region and its residents.
“The Mount Gambier & District Saleyards will be able to grow and provide live auctions and reliable communications for buyers and sellers,” said Mr Bell.
“The Glenburnie Racecourse and the Borderline Speedway will see major benefits for spectators and now be able to live stream events.”
The Independent MP said another significant beneficiary would be the Glenburnie Primary School, who depended on consistent internet access.
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“Our regional communities can only grow if we have a reliable, consistent service and keep improving our telecommunications,” said Mr Bell.
“This is a significant project that I have lobbied the State Government for over an extended period of time and it is pleasing to be able to work with the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and the State Liberal Government.”
Regional General Manager for Telstra in South Australia Mark Bolton said keeping connected with family and friends is important for all Australians.
“We rely on mobile connectivity more than ever before for making calls and accessing the internet.
In an emergency having mobile coverage and being able to make a call can make a huge difference for people living in regional areas,” said Mr Bolton.
“Telstra is pleased to partner with the State Government and the District Council of Grant to deliver mobile phone coverage for residents in the South East. Without this partnership project, this new mobile coverage may not have been possible.”
The South Australian Mobile Phone Black Spot Fund has contributed to addressing 40 mobile phone black spot locations in regional South Australia.
This outcome represents a total State Government investment of more than $7.5 million in mobile infrastructure in regional and remote South Australia from the $10 million Mobile Phone Black Spot Fund.