Monday, 22 February 2021
Lyne Electorate: Bushfires, Lyne Electorate: Telecommunications
In my most recent tour of the wonderful Lyne electorate, I visited communities in the upper valleys of the Hastings and Manning. Both these communities were severely affected by the bushfires over a year and a half ago, and they are still recovering. But they're a resilient mob.
I would like to congratulate members of the MidCoast Council's Bushfire Recovery Team, including Janine, Jenny, Gemma and Chris, who have been working with affected towns and villages. I'd also like to thank Peter Brown from the New South Wales Department Of Primary Industries, who's been providing practical and personal support.
What we all know in country Australia is that regional societies get together in local community halls. Whether it's the school of arts or just the community hall, they are often the hub for these local communities. The Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund, which is funded by the federal government as well as the state government, has been busy supporting these community halls. During the tour, we announced many cash grants, including $40,000 for Bulga Soldiers Memorial Hall in Elands; $30,000 for the Little Plain Recreation and Public Hall, also nearby in Elands; $35,000 for Killabakh Community Hall; $7,500 for Upper Lansdowne Memorial Hall; $35,000 for Lansdowne Community Hall; $50,000 for Burrell Creek Hall; $7,500 for Krambach School Of Arts Hall; $40,000 for Marlee Hall; $60,000 for Bobin School of Arts Hall; and $65,000 for Wherrol Flat Hall.
On this tour, I was also happy to have with me Michael Marom and Josh Fulwood, both senior administrators in regional Telstra communications. They came with me to several of these halls and heard firsthand the residual and ongoing problems with difficulty of mobile phone access and difficulty of getting longer term supply out of the exchanges. Telstra was kind enough to donate a Cel-Fi GO repeater for the Burrell Creek Hall and for the Rural Fire Service following my representations. The message was loud and clear: these villages in rural and regional Australia won't be left behind. They can't be left behind by telcos. They have a community service obligation. The message has got through to the middle and upper levels of management in Telstra now. It's really important that the villages don't get substandard service.