Community takes lead on phone service upgrade

The April monthly meeting of Wattle Range Council heard from the Maaoupe Phone Tower Committee about improving mobile phone service to the farming region west of Penola.

The delegation comprised committee secretary Christie Gapp and Member for MacKillop Nick McBride.

It is looking for a council grant of up to $100,000 towards the estimated cost of $600,000.

There are hopes that a telecommunications tower built by SA Police almost 40 years ago could be used.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said he had met with the Maaoupe committee and he was highly supportive of their pro-active approach to improving mobile service.

“The 2022 Federal Budget included new investment of $1.3b to expand and improve regional communications initiatives,” Mr Pasin said.

“This is great news and will add to the 32 locations across the Barker electorate to already receive improved service thanks to Federal Coalition Government investment.

“I’ll continue to work with communities like Maaoupe to see regional communications improve.”

Ms Gapp said the Maaoupe Phone Tower Committee also welcomed the increased investment from the Federal Government into communications in regional Australia.

“Productivity is adversely affected in the Maaoupe area by the lack of mobile service and results in loss of business and difficulty in taking advantage of new technologies,” she said.

“Mental health and safety concerns are also key elements in our push for better telecommunications.

“While our city counterparts are getting excited about the 5G technology available to them, we would just like to be able to sit inside our homes and make a phone call or use emerging AgTech such as animal tracking devices while working in our cattle yards.

“Whatever industry we look at, it is impacted by the lack of adequate phone service in the area.

“A tower in this area will not only assist those of us who live here, it will also allow for better telecommunications for those who work and travel between Millicent and Penola.

“We are really grateful for Mr Pasin’s support, he’s met with us on numerous occasions and is highly supportive of our cause.

“Continued Federal Government investment into improving mobile coverage is brilliant news and we really hope that by working together with government we can get a good outcome for the Maaoupe community.”

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