A new mobile phone base station is now improving coverage near Kilkivan, improving safety for motorists on the Wide Bay Highway and helping local households and businesses stay connected.
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said the new base station would boost 3G and 4G connections over 35 square kilometres, and was jointly funded by the Federal Government and Telstra under the Priority Locations Round (round 3) of the Mobile Black Spot Program.
"As a former road crash investigator, I know that mobile phone coverage can save lives in times of emergency, and this improved coverage at Kilkivan means locals and people travelling on the Wide Bay Highway will be safer as a result," Mr O'Brien said.
"The new tower delivers on my election commitment, and will provide improved mobile phone reception to help local people stay connected to loved ones, and improve opportunities for local businesses."
Mr O'Brien said the Australian Government has committed $3.4 million under the Mobile Black Spot Program to date in Wide Bay to deliver new and improved mobile coverage through a total of 18 mobile base stations have been funded to improve communication services in the electorate.
"This is the 13th base station to be completed, with others now active and on air at Glastonbury, Kin Kin, Maryborough-Biggenden Road, Widgee, Wooloolga, Maaroom, Pomona-Kin Kin Road, Tansey, Wide Bay Highway at Cinnabar, Windera, Yerra and Poona," Mr O'Brien said.
New infrastructure at blackspots on Boreen Point, Cootharaba Road, Central Stations Camp Ground and Eugarie at Fraser Island is expected to be complete this year.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said the switch-on of the new mobile base station in Wide Bay under the Mobile Black Spot Program reflects the Morrison Government's commitment to further improving connectivity in the regions.
"This significant investment as part of the Mobile Black Spot Program means that people living, working and travelling in Wide Bay will now have better mobile coverage. This is especially important following this summer's devastating bushfires," Minister Fletcher said.
"While no telecommunications network is 100 per cent impervious to damage from natural disasters, Australians naturally want to be confident our communications networks are as resilient as possible. The Mobile Black Spot Program is an important part of this as it provides an alternative communications option if another network goes down during an emergency situation.
"The first five rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program are funding 1,229 mobile base stations around Australia, with more than 830 of these already on air and providing much needed mobile connectivity to rural and regional areas."
Minister for Regional Communications, Regional Health and Local Government, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, said the Coalition Government is committed to improving connectivity for people living in regional and rural areas.
"The improved service is thanks to the Liberal and Nationals Government's $380 million Mobile Black Spot Program, which is eradicating phone black spots across Wide Bay," Minister Coulton said.
"This Government knows how frustrating it is to be talking on the phone or browsing the internet and then lose service, so we're getting on with the job of building more phone towers to deliver better service.
"Not only will these towers make it easier for people to stay connected to family and friends, it will also make it easier to do business and access education."
Minister Coulton said more than 40,000 Triple 0 calls have so far been made possible through the Mobile Black Spot Program.
More information about the program is available at www.communications.gov.au/mbsp.