Petition seeks good reception
MORE than 1130 people have signed a petition calling on the Australian government to take the necessary action to provide mobile phone reception to the Widgee area.
On Thursday Widgee resident Anna Hobbs presented the petition to federal member for Wide Bay Warren Truss.
Mrs Hobbs said the petition was passed on to the petition committee yesterday and Mr Truss would present it to parliament during next fortnight’s sitting.
Mr Truss was confident he would have a fair hearing.
Mrs Hobbs and Eveline Goy launched the petition in May after repeated attempts to obtain an improved mobile phone facility for the district.
They were particularly concerned given the activities that take place in the area, such as the Great Kilkivan Horse Ride, the Widgee Muster, the Bushman’s Carnival and the Balladeers Festival, not to mention regular pony club and horse riding activities.
With no mobile phone access it was impossible to call for help in the case of accidents or emergencies away from a landline.
Many who signed the petition were country people who rely on mobile phones for safety reasons and had much better coverage with the phased-out CDMA mobile phones.
Residents asked why the elevated 360-degree site used while the Muster is on could not be utilised as a permanent facility for the region.
Three possible solutions were put forward on the petition – powering up the Muster site so it can be used all year round, using privately owned land that has been offered (which already has emergency service towers erected), or using another suitable site known as “the old forestry tower”.
Mrs Hobbs said they were “quietly confident” of a positive outcome.