Boosting mobile phone communications on the Cooloola Coast

A new Telstra tower will boost mobile phone reception and improve safety at Inskip Point on the Cooloola Coast, with Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien today announcing $794,875 towards the project.

Mr O’Brien said the new 10-metre 4G tower at Inskip Point would boost coverage to local fishing and camping spots, the ferry port to Fraser Island, and the southern coastline of Fraser Island.

“With the Cooloola Coast becoming busier, mobile phone serves have become overloaded during peak times, and this new project will improve existing coverage and extend it into areas that have previously not had mobile phone reception, so people can access important information such as beach conditions, tidal alerts and safety information,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It also ensures that residents and visitors can reach emergency services if there is an accident on the beach or off-shore, and can stay in touch with first responders in the case of natural disasters such as bushfires.

“This new investment by the Coalition Government builds on the improved coverage provided to the Double Point Island area with a UHF system funded through a $15,000 Stronger Communities Programme grant last year, and I will continue to work for improved telecommunications throughout Wide Bay.”

State Member for Gympie Tony Perrett said the Cooloola Coast tourism boom was putting increased pressure on telecommunications, and the new tower would provide a significant improvement.

“Tourism in the Cooloola Coast region has more than doubled in the past nine years, with more than 130,000 visitors a year and that number is expected to increase rapidly as we recover from the pandemic, so a reliable mobile telephone service is absolutely critical for public safety on the Cooloola Coast,” Mr Perrett said.

“I’m confident this new Telstra tower will provide better service, which will improve community resilience, provide increased opportunities for local businesses, and build on the economic recovery of the Gympie region.”

Gympie Regional Council Mayor Glen Hartwig welcomed the investment.

“The reality is these communication improvements are overdue,” Cr Hartwig said.

“This funding will go a long way to making sure residents and visitors to the Cooloola Coast are able to stay in contact and ultimately improve safety.”

Tin Can Bay Fishing Club Secretary James George described the new tower as a “big win” for the Cooloola Coast community.

“It will be very welcome – it’s really good news because a lot of people use the area for fishing and camping and there are communication dead spots, so this means they can get in touch if there’s any problems whether they’re on land or water,” Mr George said.

Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said the Inskip Point project forms part of the Australian Government’s continuing roll-out of the $257 million Regional Connectivity Program.

“I’m pleased that residents and businesses in Wide Bay will soon be able to enjoy the benefits and opportunities that this project will bring in terms of digital connectivity,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The Government has continued to take a collaborative approach with the telecommunications industry and regional and remote communities to make sure that the funded projects are tailored to the needs of each region and are supported by the community. This approach has resulted in an opportunity to create real change in the bush.

“As the last two years have shown, digital connectivity is an essential part of how we work, learn, stay healthy and remain in contact with loved ones and also to manage, adapt to and recover from an increasing range of natural disasters. These projects will make a difference.”

The Australian Government is investing $794,875 towards the Inskip Point tower, while Telstra will contribute $354,800 and the Queensland Government has agreed to a contribution of $269,525.

The Australian Government has invested approximately $257 million in the Program, committing $117 million under Round 1 to deliver more than 130 place-based telecommunications projects and $140 million for Round 2, including dedicated funding of $72 million through the Connecting Northern Australia initiative (CNA initiative) for mobile coverage and digital connectivity projects in Northern Australia.

More information about the Program, including a full list of successful projects, is available at: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/rcp