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
Neighbourhood Watch Week will start with a sizzle — a sausage sizzle to be precise — at Sevens Creek Dve in Kialla.
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) and other emergency services are preparing for the next round of wild weather in the north-east.
It was clear blue skies last Tuesday for the official launch of the Gargarro (pronounced Ga-gar-ro) Botanic Gardens in Girgarre.
SNAKES will be coming out of hiding as the weather warms up.
KATH Bubb has been recognised for 50 years of service with the Ballendella Red Cross.
IT EXPERTISE in Kyabram has received recognition after Advance Computing won a Microsoft Australia Partner Award in the excellence in regional area customer category.
Seymour A and B-grade in season decider
Extensive rainfall in the Southern Riverina is having a negative impact on farming.
When Pyalong Primary School does something, it does it well. Here are the students all dressed up for the school's recent Roald Dahl day to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth on September 13, 1916.
Yarroweyah's Katie Anderson will be heading to Wisconsin in the United States after winning the Dairy Youth Travel Scholarship.
After a 30-year career as an accountant in Deniliquin, Peter Skipworth officially retires today.
Tuesday, August 16
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.