Poor mobile service in Mission Beach renders 000 useless

Feb 3, 2023

Poor mobile service in Mission Beach renders 000 useless

Feb 3, 2023

RESIDENTS in populated areas of North Queensland have shared worrying stories of calls to emergency services dropping out due to poor mobile service which Kennedy MP Bob Katter has long pleaded with governments to improve. 

Mr Katter has written to the Minister for Communications, Hon Michelle Rowland, urgently requesting the Government allocate funding to improve mobile service in Mission Beach after ongoing Telstra and Optus outages culminated in an emergency call yesterday (on Thursday) failing to connect. 

Mission Beach local, Paul Roxby, a long-term resident of the coastal town said he was disgusted at the major telcos when he attempted to dial 000.

“Yesterday I had to call 000 ambulance for someone in the middle of a 4,000-tourist town and was cut off with 000. It took them five minutes to connect back, and that could have been the five minutes needed. A similar problem occurred yesterday with another lady who tried to contact 000,” Mr Roxby said. 

“Businesses are having to walk outside of their shops to get reception. Patchy internet and phone lines means eftpos doesn’t work.”

Mr Katter said that he had also written to Treasurer Jim Chalmers requesting that the Federal Budget in May contain a significantly increased allocation for rural and regional telecommunications services and infrastructure.

“The lack of phone or internet service is the number one issue on people’s lips whether I’m in the rural and remote areas like Einasleigh, Cloncurry, Julia Creek or Doomadgee, or on the coast at Mission Beach, Fishery Falls, Forrest Beach, Upper Stone, Cowley Beach, or Japoonvale/Silkwood, or the Atherton Tablelands at, Dimbulah/Mutchilba, Speewah, Danbulla, Innot Hot Springs, or Atherton,” Mr Katter said.

“We’ve been screaming out continuously at the Federal Government and at the major telcos to improve the service and to fund upgrades of mobile towers.

“Accidents frequently occur on rural properties and roads, and without the ability to call emergency services, the risk of injury and death is much higher.

“These problems just indicate further why the sale and privatisation of Telstra by the major parties was a national disaster that will continue to impact generations to come.

“Parliament sits for the next fortnight and I’ll be knocking on the Minister’s door to get some action.”

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said he would be visiting affected residents and businesses in the coming days.

“Situations like this, in a major tourism destination, is simply not good enough,” Mr Knuth said.

“During tourist season Mission Beach can be packed and it is vital for businesses and the community to have reliable access to telecommunications and emergency services.

“In this day and age this is simply unsatisfactory.”