Govt in town to hear about mobile phone black spots

FLOODS, fires and resuscitation are the top reasons residents want their black-spot communications areas improved.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, was in Gladstone to listen to the community's problems with a lack of mobile coverage.

Mr Fletcher is responsible for overseeing the black-spot submissions for the Federal Government's $100million Mobile Coverage program.

He also had sound advice, telling the gathering it wasn't a requirement, but those communities that could make cash contributions, and landowners that could give land lease-free or even bulldoze the access road, would be looked upon favourably.

"We're still working out the precise rules but it will be competitive," he said. "Anything that could make it easier, we want to know."

The importance of the program for local people was visible in the residents' willingness to wait an hour-and a-half after Mr Fletcher was delayed coming from Rockhampton.

He said as soon as the program had started, Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd was on the phone asking how to make it happen for his electorate.

The funding project aims to improve mobile coverage along major transport routes, in small communities and areas prone to experiencing natural disasters, as well as areas with unique coverage problems, such as tourist areas with seasonal changes.

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