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
Leukaemia diagnosis for Shepparton boy Travis Lamont, 17, hits his family hard.
Yarrawonga Football Netball Club senior footballer Jeremy O’Brien celebrated his 200th senior Ovens and Murray Football Netball League game against the Wodonga Bulldogs on Saturday.
The trip to Deakin Reserve pitted the fourth-placed Bulldogs up against sixth-placed Demons in a vital match to consolidate a finals berth.
Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Deputy Nationals leader Peter Walsh are expected to make a significant and long-awaited bridge announcement tomorrow.
Sergeant Dale Simm of Rochester police is warning the public to be wary of phone calls offering all sorts of great prizes.
100 days at Tongala Primary.
Mark Grainger cannot believe his luck after suffering a heart attack on the day a new drug was approved to be administered by paramedics.
A man who attempted, but failed miserebly, to rob the Tocumwal Pie Shed is still on the run from police.
District residents judge the top releases from the Heathcote wine region during the second annual Heathcote Wine Show on the weekend.
A sporting precinct has emerged as the main driver behind merger of Cobram and Victory soccer clubs.
A top-three finish is on the cards for the Deni Rovers after they knocked off Jerilderie on Saturday.
Innovative irrigators are being encouraged to apply for a 2014 Rural Water Award and the chance to win a $2000 cash prize.
Three Benalla residents are speaking up to bring the issue of youth homelessness into the spotlight.
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