BY JULIAN LEESER

Thank you for all your support for our Telstra campaign to improve telecommunications in our community.

As a result of our campaign the Minister for Communications announced $16.4 million for a program designed to help communities like ours, around the country.

The Peri-Urban Mobile Program (PUMP) is dedicating funds towards the building of mobile towers in outer-metropolitan disaster-prone areas, like the Berowra electorate. This fund is designed to put money on the table to encourage telecommunications companies to step up and provide solutions for places that do not have adequate service.

PUMP is an important step towards getting the mobile coverage our community deserves.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher came to Kenthurst to deliver the announcement and acknowledged that the campaigning from our community over the past 12 months was the impetus for this new program.

I am very proud of the efforts of our community, and of the Government for taking this forward step. It is now up to the telecommunications companies to place their part. The next step will be to work with the community to help encourage Telstra and the other telecommunications companies to participate in the program, so we can make the most of the opportunity it provides.

In the coming months I will also put forward legislative reforms aimed at improving the experiences of customers such as a universal service obligation for mobile phone coverage, obligations to provide workable coverage in people’s homes not just their backyards and preventing telecommunications companies from billing customers during outages or when they have no service. The reforms will send a message to Telstra that they’ve got to lift their game. This is one of the important actions I can take as a Member of Parliament to put forward telecommunications policy reforms.