Bublished by The Border Watch
By Sandra Morello
New tower to dramatically improve mobile coverage around saleyards
SCENES of jubilation erupted at Mount Gambier and District Saleyards when the State Government finally answered a 20-year call for a mobile phone tower.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone delivered the news at yesterday at the livestock exchange, which had more than $1m worth of livestock penned for sale.
The $689,000 proposed tower has been secured through a partnership with the State Government, Grant District Council and Telstra.
The looming project was also welcomed by the Mount Gambier Racing Club, Borderline Speedway officials and stock agents at the Glenburnie saleyards.
These three major facilities - which attract thousands of people each year - have been plagued with patchy or non-existent coverage.
Speaking to a small gathering at the saleyards, Mr Whetstone acknowledged the community had been waiting a long time for a phone tower in the Glenburnie area.
“Some say good things come to those who wait and I am sorry it has been this long,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Whether you are part of the saleyards or the local community, this is a great outcome.”
He said the government longrecognised the importance of effective telecommunications as critical infrastructure for regional communities.
“Mobile phone coverage and connectivity is vital for people living in regional areas, especially at a time like this,” Mr Whetstone said.
“Improved mobile coverage also leads to economic development opportunities for new and existing businesses.”
He said Grant District Council came forward and was willing to invest $50,000 to elevate the Glenburnie saleyards up the priority list.
Grant District Mayor Richard Sage said the saleyards was an important regional asset and needed reliable and fast digital connection.
He said the upgrade could accelerate plans to deliver online sales at the livestock selling centre, which was one of the biggest in southern Australia.
“We have plans to make the saleyards a world class facility,” Mr Sage said.
Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell - who has been lobbying for the project - described the decision as an “unbelievable step” in the right direction.
He said improved communications was not just needed for emergencies, but also for these major venues.
In particular, he said the Allan Scott Glenburnie Racecourse hosted the bigticket events such as the Gold Cup and needed improved coverage.
While the announcement was a win economically, he said it was also win for safety in the community.
“The Mount Gambier and District Saleyards will be able to grow and provide live auctions and reliable communications for buyers and sellers,” Mr Bell said.
“The Glenburnie Racecourse and the Borderline Speedway will see major benefits for spectators and live streaming of events.
“Another significant beneficiary will be the Glenburnie Primary School, allowing reliable internet access.”
Borderline Speedway president Cary Jennings welcomed the announcement given it would improve safety and allow the organisation to livestream events across the globe.
“We have people from Europe and America who want to livestream our speedway program. This will put South Australia on the map,” Mr Jennings said.