One Goulburn Valley town has had enough.CATHY WALKER June 17, 2014 3:00am
After 17 years in the town, Neale Emmett says mobile reception in Katandra West hasn’t improved a bit.
Mobile mechanic and tow truck operator Dave Dunkley hates nothing more than leaving people stranded on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle.
But that’s the reality sometimes for the Katandra West businessman who last week joined the groundswell of community support for a campaign to get his Goulburn Valley town of around 750 people out of a mobile phone ‘black spot’.
Mr Dunkley described his mobile service as ‘‘shocking’’.
‘‘If someone rings you can’t answer it properly and you don’t know where to go to a call — and yes, there have been times when you leave people stranded.
‘‘By the time you get to a landline or into better reception they have tried to make other arrangements.’’
Despite boasting a giant NBN tower on the footy oval smack in the centre of town, Katandra West has poor to negligible mobile reception and last week at the local store the community presented Senator Bridget McKenzie with a petition calling for urgent action.
She promised to deliver it to the Parliamentary Secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher when parliament resumes in Canberra next week.
‘‘I was on the phone to him as we were driving out here. He kept saying ‘Bridget, you’re cutting out’ and I said ‘yes, and you’ll be hearing more about it next week’,’’ Senator McKenzie said.
She praised the community for being the only one in rural Victoria to make a submission to the Federal Department of Communications’ Mobile Coverage Program.
Katandra West store proprietor Leanne Ireland said it wasn’t unusual to see five or 10 school children lined up along the shop window where sometimes they could ‘‘get one bar’’.
After 17 years in Katandra West, retiree Neale Emmett said he’d ‘‘never had a decent service’’.
‘‘Visitors from Melbourne can’t believe it,’’ Mr Emmett said as he proffered his mobile to be photographed with the ‘no service’ sign on the screen.
His main concern was that Telstra customers in the town now have their landlines connected through the National Broadband Network and when there are NBN outages or power outages the mobile phone becomes the only form of contact.
Victorian Nationals candidate for Shepparton and Katandra West local Greg Barr escorted Senator McKenzie on a tour of the other ‘black spot’ areas on Friday, including Wunghnu, Bunbartha and Kialla.
‘‘We hope to access $100
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Police investigating a break and enter at a Mulwala club more than 10 years ago are renewing their appeal for public assistance by releasing an image of a person they believe has information to assist them.
Tatura’s Victory Hall is set for a big year as preparations get under way to celebrate the hall’s 90th birthday in September.
Former district resident and award-winning television producer Joanna Werner will no doubt be shopping for a glitzy gown ahead of the Emmy Awards in New York on February 20.
Rochester Secondary College school captains Dom Atley and Tim Poole have been accepted to study biomedical science in the first step towards becoming doctors.
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Finley Henry Matheson was bestowed one of the highest Australia Day honours.
Heathcote Hostel residents were treated to a visit from Heathcote’s favourite horse, Sub Zero, as part of Australia Day celebrations.
Recent weather conditions have come as a mixed blessing for farmers, with high rainfall and humidity providing a respite for irrigators as well as difficult growing and picking conditions for fruit growers.
Darren McLoughlin only started playing croquet seven years ago.
From orchards to harvest to shelves, a new exhibition will celebrate the Goulburn Valley’s iconic fruit industry. The Photos of the Fruit Industry exhibition will run as part of the SheppARTon Festival in March and aims to share memories and history of an industry that has shaped the region.
Former Benalla footballer Tom Rockliff has been named captain of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
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