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Julian Leeser: Federal Member for Berowra

For many years, it has been a key priority of mine to champion a better deal for our area from the telcos – for more towers and fewer blackspots.

Only weeks ago, we got a new phone tower in Glenhaven. This is a cause of celebration after years fighting for the tower, including a community campaign for the tower to be located at Glenhaven Green.

As the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said about a communications blackspot in her own electorate, reliable communications is not “a nice to have, it’s a necessity”. I agree with her.

In recent months, it has become apparent to me that the Government’s decision to shut down the 3G network has not been totally thought through. It’s also a deep concern to local residents.

Residents have told me in emails: “All I know is that lately my signal bars have reduced to one bar only and I appear to only have 3G”.

And “We don’t rely on 3G unless 4G is down which happens. We seem to be in a black spot or hole. We need 3G when this happens”

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Julian Leeser: Federal Member for Berowra

Another resident wrote, “4G is very bad at our address. We needed to install a phone booster. The phone booster works better on 3G than 4G.

Many residents across the electorate are still relying on the 3G network and cannot get the 4G or 5G network. And for those in boats on the Hawkesbury River, 3G is the vital link with emergency services.

There is not a shortage of technology, only a shortage of will.

It’s a cause I took up during the recent parliamentary sitting fortnight. I am pleased that Minister Rowland has formed a working group inquiring into the 3G shutdown – with a particular emphasis on triple zero calls.

Additionally, following my advocacy and the advocacy of others in the Coalition, the shutdown of the 3G network has been referred to the Senate’s Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee.

The purpose of the inquiry is to review the impact that the shutdown will have on Australians who rely on the 3G network.

If you are impacted by this change, I encourage you to make a submission to the Committee. Submissions close on 31st May. If you would also like to share your thoughts with me, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.