Federal Parliament hears about inadequate emergency communication services

Emma McBride MP for DobellEmma McBride MP for Dobell

Federal Member for Dobell, Ms Emma McBride, has renewed calls for an improved emergency broadcast service reaching the Wyong region following the February storms.
“Fortunately, the damage was not to the scale of the super storms of 2015 and 2016, but once again, we are reminded of the urgent need to boost our communications network,” Ms McBride said during a speech in Federal Parliament.
“Emergency radio broadcasts provide vital information during extreme weather events and natural disasters such as weather and power updates, safety advice, information on local road closures and evacuation warnings,” she said.
“Unfortunately, ABC Radio Central Coast’s reception is severely limited.
“Only the Gosford CBD receives a clear signal.
“Many surrounding suburbs do not.
“I am particularly concerned about residents who live west of the M1 motorway having little or no mobile reception and being in a flood and fire-prone area.
“Their safety relies on effective communication in an emergency.”
Ms McBride said the Central Coast must be recognised as a stand-alone region which requires a reliable emergency broadcast service.
“In June 2015, the government announced funding for four new mobile phone base stations at Dooralong, Lemon Tree, Wyong Creek and Yarramalong.
“At the time, residents were promised that: ‘these first bases will be rolled out in the second half of 2015.
“It has not happened.
“Telstra currently estimates that the tower at Wyong Creek will be operational in 2018, with the others up and running sometime later in 2017.
“Residents of Cedar Brush Creek, Dooralong, Jilliby, Kulnura, Little Jilliby, Wyong Creek and Yarramalong deserve accurate, up-to-date, information, and I am disappointed that they have not received it from this government,” she said.
Ms McBride also criticised the rollout of new communication infrastructure on the Coast as being “equally disappointing”.
“Residents in Wyreema Rd, Warnervale, have been badly let down.
“They cannot get ADSL broadband and still have no NBN, despite their suburb being switched on a long time ago.
“I raised this with the Minister for Communications and months later received this response from his chief of staff.
“He said: ‘These residents should expect to be connected in February, 2017.’
“Well, time is up.
“They are not connected.
“How much longer do they have to wait?
“The government has confirmed that these properties, as well as other homes in Brush Rd, Wamberal, and Oak Rd, Matcham, for example, will be serviced by micronodes.
“They say this is necessary for premises that may be unable to receive high-speed broadband by the local fibre-to-the-node network.
“This is a startling admission from a government that backed fibre to the node as a viable alternative to Labor’s fibre-to-the-home technology.
“The government has misled our community on fibre to the node and continues to bungle the rollout of its patchwork of technologies,” she said.
Ms McBride asked Central Coast residents to share their experiences with the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network currently holding an inquiry.

Transcript,
Mar 2, 2017
Emma McBride, Federal Member for Dobell

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