A pledge to tackle mobile black spots in bushfire-prone areas has been welcomed by Macedon Ranges council.
The Labor Party has announced that it will invest up to $2 million in a connectivity plan to address mobile phone black spots across the shire if it wins the upcoming election.
Bullengarook, Gisborne South, High Camp and Mount Macedon were identified by Labor as locations with “poor mobile communications”.
Council acting planning and environment director Susan La Greca said the council was aware of the mobile black spots and welcomed the pledge.
“Council undertakes ongoing advocacy work with telecommunication providers with the aim to provide residents and business owners with access to basic mobile services,” she said.
“Each of the Macedon Ranges locations identified in Labor’s election commitment are known mobile black spots.
“Additional infrastructure to improve these black spots would be welcomed.”
Gisborne South resident Cathy Beck Evans said her family did not have mobile coverage at home.
“The lack of mobile coverage impedes [me] and my husband’s ability to fulfil our work commitments,” she said.
She said that during a 2014 bushfire, the Fire Ready app did not alert them to impending danger.
Labor regional spokesperson Stephen Jones said more priority needed to be placed on Macedon Ranges mobile coverage.
“There are many locations in this region that should have been funded by now, given their high bushfire risk and emergency service needs,” he said.
“We must do more to help regional communities when it comes to mobile black spots.”
McEwen MP Rob Mitchell backed the funding call.
“On Code Red days … residents and visitors need to be able to rely on this coverage for updates on conditions and any alerts of fire,” he said. “Regions like ours should be highest priority, because we know exactly how big the impact is.”