Noorat will get better mobile phone coverage after the Federal Government allocated funding to a new telecommunications tower.
Telstra has received funding from the Federal Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (Round 2).
A new macro mobile base station and transmission connectivity will provide improved 4G/5G mobile voice and data coverage for residents and visitors to the area.
A 12-hour extended battery reserve will mean the site can keep running longer if there is a power outage.
Noorat post office franchisee Kerry Murphy said the improvement would be great for the town.
She said a lot of people she spoke to over the counter were frustrated by current services.
“At least four or five times a week I’m talking to people on the phone and it just goes. My concern is there’s an older population here. Many of them just have a mobile phone and don’t have a landline. What happens if one of them falls over? There’s a safety issue.”
Ms Murphy said improved services would also help keep businesses in Noorat rather than driving customers to bigger towns.
“I’ve had issues trying to access the computer so if people want to do banking, withdraw money or pay bills, there’s been times I’ve had to say: ‘I can’t do it’.
“I get parcels in the morning and have to scan them in and when people collect them, I have to scan them out. I often have to go outside and stand near the public toilets to see if I can scan there. It’s very frustrating for the customers.”
Corangamite Shire Deputy Mayor Geraldine Conheady, a Noorat resident, said the announcement was great news for the town and surrounding community.
“Communication failures during the 2018 bushfires underline just how vital this upgrade is for the safety of our people and property,” Cr Conheady said.
“The poor coverage around Noorat has also held back agribusiness productivity and innovation in the area.
“Filling in mobile phone black spots around our Shire has been one of Council’s top priorities for many years.
“We have taken every opportunity to advocate for funding to upgrade the infrastructure so our residents, emergency services and businesses have access to essential technology.
“Our next mission will be securing similar funding for Port Campbell which has similar connectivity issues.
The time frame for installation is yet to be decided.
Pictured, from left: Cr Laurie Hickey, Eve Black, Will Layley, Deputy Mayor Geraldine Conheady, Member for Wannon Dan Tehan, Mayor Ruth Gstrein, Tim Carroll, Cr Nick Cole and Lynn Patzel.