The first rollout of Victoria’s new mobile towers is underway with Telstra yesterday releasing their schedule to fix regional mobile black spots in Gormandale, Sandy Point, Mirboo East, and Benambra.

The sites are some of the first of the 109 new mobile base stations to be constructed across regional Victoria as part of a successful joint bid by the Andrews Labor Government and Telstra under round one of the Commonwealth Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot Programme (MBSP).

Over the next three years the project will radically improve mobile coverage and connectivity for up to 12,000 households and businesses across regional Victoria, eliminating communication black spots and boosting the state’s regional economy by an estimated $120 million per year.

There will also be improved public safety and access to emergency management information in the event of natural disasters, which were high priorities in Victoria’s submission to the MBSP, backed by Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Craig Lapsley.

Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria region, said the Arawata, Carrajung Lower, Clear Creek Road, Dumbalk, Dumbalk North, Ferndale, Kongwak, Outtrim Leongatha Road and Waratah Bay sites, which also received first round funding from the MBSP, are not included in this rollout but Telstra will be releasing six-monthly rollout schedules throughout the next three years.

The Labor Government is now considering how Victoria will participate to maximise on funding for round two of the Commonwealth Government’s Mobile Black Spot Programme.

Quotes attributable to Member for Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria region

“This is a game-changer for our communities in Gippsland.”

“Improving mobile services for regional Victorians will not only connect us better, it will add significant economic benefits to our communities and give peace of mind to those living in areas prone to bushfires and other natural disasters.”

Quotes attributable Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis

“The Andrews Labor Government is fixing mobile blackspots across the state and is currently working closely with Telstra to ensure regional Victorians and communities in high risk bushfire areas can access reliable mobile services when they need them most.”

“We will continue to push the Turnbull Government to ensure Victoria receives its fair share of funds for the next phase of the Commonwealth’s Black Spot Programme.”