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.
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Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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