24 February 2014
FEDERAL Member for New England Barnaby Joyce has met with a delegation from Walcha Shire Council to promote the case for a mobile phone tower to overcome the black-spot in telecommunications in and around Walcha Road.
With Mr Joyce was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, who was able to detail to the Walcha Council’s Mayor, Janelle Archdale and the Council’s General Manager, Jack O’Hara, the Federal Government’s $100 million Mobile Coverage Programme.
“I was delighted to invite the Parliamentary Secretary to the electorate and show him some of the challenges my constituents faced,” Mr Joyce said.
“He gave us a terrific hearing and I’m confident he’ll take our message back to Canberra.
“Good telecommunications is vital for our electorate. Especially for people running highly successful businesses who need to communicate quickly.
“Better mobile coverage also gives peace of mind to families who might need emergency or other vital services,” he said.
Mr Joyce said with much of the needed infrastructure like power, an optic fibre hub and the tower already established, the cost of installing the mobile service would be economically efficient and he was confident the proposal would receive a good hearing.
Cr Archdale told the visiting MPs the introduction of a service in the west of the shire, at Walcha Road, would alleviate the mobile coverage black-spot issue.
She said the Council had been campaigning for many years to have the problem solved and, with the existing police communications tower at Walcha Road, the installation of the mobile phone facility would make the task much easier.
Mr Joyce said submissions for funding the Mobile Coverage Programme are due by 28 February and can be forwarded to the Department of Communications at:
“The funding for this national programme will be allocated via an open and transparent process with the detailed rules to be announced in consultation with stakeholders,” he said.
The discussion paper is available from the Department of Communications at: