Federal government allocates quarter of new Victorian mobile phone towers to Indi as part of blackspots program

Flashback: Cathy McGowan with Malcolm Turnbull after the first round of blackspot funding in 2015. After the latest announcement Indi has 38 towers approved to be built by 2018.

Flashback: Cathy McGowan with Malcolm Turnbull after the first round of blackspot funding in 2015. After the latest announcement Indi has 38 towers approved to be built by 2018.

EIGHT mobile phone blackspots in the North East, including the Beechworth-Wodonga Road, will be fixed by the federal government.

The electorate of Indi will receive a quarter of the 32 phone towers to be funded in Victoria under the second round of the Coalition’s blackspots program.

Three locations in Towong Shire – Tallangatta Valley, Tallangatta South and a section of the Omeo Highway – will benefit.

An area of the Baranduda Range in Wodonga Council and Wandiligong will also be covered in addition to the Beechworth-Wodonga Road.

The other two are in Mansfield and Murrindindi shires.

Member for Indi Cathy McGowan hailed the news.

“I’m very pleased that Indi has done so well, a quarter of the Victorian ones have come to us, that’s a tribute to the lobbying we’re doing and the way we’re working,” Ms McGowan said.

“Corangamite, which has a Liberal member of parliament and similar terrain, they got four, not that it’s a competition.”

Ms McGowan conceded there were still a “lot of blackspots” and urged the National Party to do more.

“I’m calling on the National Party to go into bat for regional Australia because wherever you go in regional Australia you should be able to use your phone,” she said.

“While I’m pleased with the result it’s piecemeal; there needs to be a comprehensive plan for people to be able to do their business.”

Nationals Victorian senator Bridget McKenzie hit back at Ms McGowan, saying there would no blackspot funding without her party.

“I think Cathy McGowan needs to examine the previous government’s record and approach – before the National Party developed this policy in opposition and implemented it in government there were no mobile phone towers funded by government,” Senator McKenzie said.

“There is more to be done obviously and it has to be done in a responsible manner and we believe we are doing that.”

Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O’Connor hailed the Beechworth-Wodonga Road deal, saying lack of a signal hurt with car crashes and fires.

“It’s heavily used and heavily trafficked, so to not have mobile cover on that road has been really problematic,” she said.

Three spots in Farrer, west of the Newell Highway, were funded in the second round. 

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