May 31, 2018
AGL has asked Member for Maranoa David Littleproud and Minister for Regional Communications Senator Bridget McKenzie to help the company solve mobile phone problems affecting the area around the Coopers Gap Wind Farm project.
The mobile phone problems were discussed at the quarterly Coopers Gap Community Consultation Meeting held at Cooranga North Hall on Thursday.
AGL’s senior manager for Government and Community Relations, Clare Mildren, told the meeting AGL had approached Telstra about fixing a notorious mobile phone “black spot” in the area.
Most parts of Cooranga North and other communities surrounding the wind farm – and the Coopers Gap Wind Farm itself – are unable to access reliable mobile communications because of the area’s steep hills and deep gullies.
Ms Mildren said Telstra had recently given a quote to the wind farm’s principal contractors GE-Catcon to erect two mobile phone towers that it believed would solve the problem, but the cost was “horrendous” and outside the project’s budget.
However, since Telstra will eventually have to build the towers as part of the Federal Government’s long-term plan to eliminate most ‘black spots’ from Australia’s communications network, she hoped the Federal Government could contribute funding to the project as well.
Ms Mildren was authorised to act on behalf of the wind farm’s communities at the previous CCC meeting in February, where community members gave her unanimous support to act on their behalf on solving the mobile phone problem.
She has now raised the issue with Member for Maranoa David Littleproud, and he in turn has raised the matter with Senator McKenzie.
“I can’t praise David Littleproud enough for his approach,” Ms Mildren told the meeting.
“He could see the problems instantly and took action on it immediately.
“I know that better telecommunications for the bush is an issue close to his heart, and he knows Coopers Gap is an important national project that needs good mobile coverage to operate effectively.”
Ms Mildren said AGL would now invite Senator McKenzie to visit the area to see the problems residents were living with, and explore possible solutions.