Almost every day in various local Facebook groups, residents in the Macedon Ranges discuss and debate telecommunications issues in the region.
On Thursday, April 21, federal Labor promised to provide $1.5 million in funding to help address mobile blackspots in Woodend and Gisborne South, if it wins the next federal election.
“There are many locations in the Macedon Ranges with poor mobile communications, which is why fixing these black spots will be a top priority for an Albanese Labor government,” Labor McEwen MP Rob Mitchell said.
Replying to a post in a local community group, one Facebook user said “The challenge is that there is no mobile coverage in most of Woodend”.
“So as soon as you step away from your property and wifi, call quality is an issue, sending an iMessage or any time of messaging app message is an issue, browsing a webpage or connecting to a GPS maps is an issue,” the resident said.
Another resident said on Facebook they moved to Woodend 12 months ago and were still struggling with mobile coverage.
“Cannot send messages, forget photos. I’m trying to run a business at home – absolutely hopeless,” they said.
A statement from Labor said the infrastructure is “badly needed” in the region, and it was unfair residents at the GEM Life Retirement Village in Woodend don’t receive adequate mobile phone coverage to stay in touch with loved ones.
“Local businesses need these blackspots fixed too so they can keep growing and keep employing local workers,” the statement said.
“This is especially true for our vibrant tourism sector, which often struggles with mobile phone connection on busy weekends, the very time it’s needed most.
“Local families need these blackspots fixed so they can enjoy the same connectivity that other Australians take for granted,” it said.
Mr Mitchell said the federal government should have funded the blackspot locations by now.
“Particularly given the high bushfire risk in our area and our emergency service needs,” he said.