THIRTY two new mobile base stations have been announced for Victoria by the Minister for Regional Services and Deputy Leader of The Nationals, Senator Bridget McKenzie, and one of them will be located at Berrys Creek between Leongatha and Mirboo North.
It’s a noted blackspot area where mobile phones regularly drop out while driving along the busy Strzelecki Highway but it’s a major inconvenience for locals.
Former Berrys Creek Hall Secretary, Marj Hutchinson, described the mobile reception at the moment simply as “shocking”.
“Right along the Strzelecki Highway, after you pass Boorool Road and around the hall and all that, it’s just terrible,” Mrs Hutchinson said.
“There are people who come up here from Melbourne to stay for the weekend and they have to get in their cars and drive to higher ground to get reception.
“Higher up on Mt Vernon Road you can get reception but you’re really in a valley down here.
“I’m not a big mobile phone user myself but it will be great if this fixes it up.”
Berrys Creek dairy farmer Cor Koedoot agrees.
“I used to get no reception at all up in the house but it has got a little better in recent times. But there’s plenty of times when you want to make a call where you get no reception at all,” said Cor.
“It’s a safety issue as much as anything else.”
In welcoming the improvement in mobile coverage at Berrys Creek and other regional and remote locations, Ms McKenzie said she was well aware of its importance to the community.
“Reliable and effective mobile communications are a key driver of the enormous contribution that our regions make to Australia’s economic growth,” said Minister McKenzie.
“Greater availability of mobile services is a big deal. It means staying safe in remote areas, keeping in contact with family and friends, unlocking access to online health and education services as well as increased tourism and business opportunities.”
Mobile Black Spot Program
Under Round 4 of the ‘Mobile Black Spot Program, $21.7 million will be invested in mobile infrastructure in Victoria. This includes $6.5 million funding from the Commonwealth and $5.8 million from the Victorian Government.
The Mobile Black Spot Program is delivering 1047 new base stations and generating over $760 million of new investment in mobile infrastructure including contributions from state and local governments, mobile network operators, businesses and local communities.
Base stations under the first three rounds are scheduled to be operational by June 30, 2019. Round 4 base stations are expected to roll out shortly with the first new base stations being activated by the second half of this year.