House debates

Tuesday, 25 August 2020


Braddon Electorate: Telecommunications

7:45 pm

Photo of Gavin PearceGavin Pearce (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There's been great news in the great state of Tasmania this week for residents from the town of Tullah, on Tasmania's west coast: their new 4GX mobile site was officially launched. This new Telstra base station has brought dedicated mobile coverage to the former mining town for the very first time. The Morrison government is committed to improving digital connectivity for those living in regional and remote areas right across the electorate of Braddon, and this service is an important part of that commitment.

The launch was held at the Tullah Tavern, and I want to give a big shout-out to the publican, Di Ashwell, and her team for their hospitality. The place was packed. There was a roaring fire and they put on a great lunch. I had some of the best scones I've ever had. The tavern was full, with many who came along being beneficiaries of the new base station. This base station will help Di run her business more effectively. It removes the barrier for tourists visiting the region. Being connected is important for visitors to the region, and I look forward to the day when cashed-up mainlanders come to Tasmania, enjoy our generosity and spend their money in this great pub in Tullah.

Another great local is Jenny Bowie. Jenny runs the post office and is president of the Tullah Progress Association. She told me that better mobile coverage means that locals can now get connected and, more importantly, stay connected, and the township can finally grow. Jenny described the coverage as '100 per cent' and thanked both Telstra and the Australian government for their commitment to Tullah.

There are a lot of things that people living in larger metropolitan areas take for granted. Mobile connectivity is one of them, and those opportunities should be made available to all, including our rural people in the bush. The residents of Tullah and their mobile service are now comparable to their city cousins and, for the first time, they'll be able to promote their businesses online, access telehealth and online university courses, download large files, stream their favourite movies, watch sport and, more importantly, connect with loved ones right across the world. It's going to be a game changer for the region.

I want to thank West Coast Mayor Phil Vickers and Waratah-Wynyard Mayor Robby Walsh for coming along to the launch. As mayors of their respective councils, they've been instrumental in delivering the project and I've worked closely with both of them. This forms an important part of the north-west telecommunications upgrade and is yet another example of the proactive relationship between local governments working with federal government and our telecommunications providers to provide great service. Mayor Vickers told the crowd how impressed he was with the relationship he'd formed with Telstra, the federal government and the community, and how it relied on everybody working together. Because we did this, the project is a reality.

Improving connectivity in regional areas is a priority for this government, because we understand that choosing to live remotely shouldn't mean that you are digitally isolated. No-one should miss out on the benefits of connectivity because of where they live. Along with Tullah, there are four communities across Braddon's west coast that are now enjoying a faster, more effective mobile service. The towns of Waratah and Savage River are enjoying faster mobile coverage, thanks to 4GX upgrades, with their existing mobile sites in Zeehan and Strahan, which have also benefited from recently upgraded radio transmission links improving the network.

4GX is the new system out of Telstra for the state. It's aimed at the regional parts of our state, where it's difficult to deliver line-of-sight communications. It doubles the 4G bandwidth in the 700 megahertz range and provides the greatest data streaming. More importantly, this $790,000 federal investment backs our Tasmanian West Coast communities. I was incredibly proud to make this historic announcement and back Tasmania's regional communities in, because it's these communities that I'll always back.