House debates

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Constituency Statements


10:42 am

Photo of Anthony ByrneAnthony Byrne (Holt, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this morning to raise one of the most important issues facing my constituents in the electorate of Holt and that is after years and years and years of lobbying, many residents in my electorate, too many residents in my electorate, don't have access to reliable mobile phone reception, particularly in suburbs like Cranbourne East, Clyde, Clyde North and surrounding areas. These are some of the fastest growing areas in Australia. These are suburbs that have lots of young families that come and live and expect, in the 21st century, that when you shift in to an area—and one of the fastest growing areas in Australia—that you would actually have mobile reception. It is story after story after story of people not being able to use their mobile phones. This is the 21st century in a major capital city in one of the fastest growing areas in Australia and you can't use your mobile phone. The consequences of that can be quite terrifying and I'll get into that in a second.

Deputy Speaker, as you know, when these matters are raised there is a lot of, in a sense, passing the buck—a bit of handballing like Polly Farmer. I'm putting you are all on notice: the federal government, the City of Casey, telecommunication providers. Stop making excuses and give people the facilities that they deserve, need and warrant. Just because they live in the outer suburbs does not mean that they should be discriminated against. Because you live in Cranbourne East or Clyde or Clyde North does not mean that you should be excluded from getting an essential service like a mobile phone service.

Here is one example of not being able to use a mobile phone. Zoe Harriet from Clyde North basically had incredibly difficulty ringing an ambulance for her six-month-old son during an emergency. Her son, thankfully, is okay, but she's unable to contact an ambulance to get access to her son in Cranbourne East. It is unacceptable that that would actually happen. It actually defies description that that would happen.

My office has also been contacted by Darrin Bayliss-White, the Community Manager of a Aveo Botanic Gardens retirement village in Junction Village. They have 157 independent living residential units with 190 residents. The retirement village has been unable to enjoy reliable mobile phone reception from Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, which, understandably, creates safety concerns which impact the village. Not only do we have young people and emergency situations; there is also another situation around Cranbourne East where a woman told me she was watching someone trying to break into her home. She did haven't the NBN and went to use her mobile phone. She could not ring. She had no reception. Imagine you not being able to do anything to ring an emergency number. She was quite traumatised. I've had enough. We deserve to be able to have a mobile phone in the outer south-eastern suburbs, and I'll campaign until we do. (Time expired)