Toolleen’s blackspot woes on Nationals’ agenda
12 November 2018
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh dropped into Mt Pleasant Football Netball Club on Sunday with Member for Euroa Steph Ryan to hear locals’ frustrations with poor mobile phone coverage.
The club has been told it may lose the opportunity to host finals for the Heathcote and District Football Netball League (HDFNL) in the future after poor mobile reception meant scores could not be uploaded during a preliminary final this year.
Mt Pleasant Recreation Reserve president Phil Ryan said the only issue raised by the league on the days was the lack of mobile phone coverage.
“The league was trying to upload live scores on the day, with limited success,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Walsh told the club The Nationals would invest $30 million to fix telecommunications problems, including mobile blackspots, in country Victoria if elected to government later this month.
“There are too many places across our state like Toolleen where communications services aren’t up to scratch,” Mr Walsh said.
“If The Nationals are elected we’re determined to invest and change that. In a digital age, it is absolutely critical that families and businesses in rural and regional areas have reliable telephone and internet services.”
Ms Ryan said poor or non-existent mobile phone reception was severely limiting some rural communities, including Toolleen.
“Attracting finals footy is a big win for any club. Bigger crowds means more money on the gate and more sales through the canteen and bar,” Ms Ryan said.
“It would be a real blow for Mt Pleasant if it lost the opportunity to host finals because mobile phone coverage isn’t up to scratch.”
Ms Ryan said poor mobile and internet coverage also hampered EFTPOS machines at the Toolleen Pub and was an issue for families with school aged children who needed to access the internet to do homework.
“Toolleen is one of a number of communities who have expressed their frustrations to me about the slow process of eliminating blackspots. Communities like Creightons Creek and Redesdale as well as bigger towns like Avenel are also affected.
“If I am re-elected, I will be fighting to improve mobile phone reception in our communities.”
Photo from left-right: Mick Byrne (past MPFNC President; current committee member); Steph Ryan MP (Member for Euroa; Deputy Leader of The Nationals); Phil Ryan; Phil Whiting (current MPFNC President); Peter Walsh MP (Member for Murray Plains; Leader of The Nationals).