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Thursday, 16 February 2017
Page: 1380

Ms LAMB (Longman) (16:39): I rise today to address the haphazard implementation of the government's mobile phone black spot program and the impact of that failure on the people living across my electorate of Longman. The issue has been extremely pressing for our community, most notably in the small area of Beachmere. Access to a reliable telephone service does not just give people the ability to communicate with friends and family; it gives people, particularly older people, the ability to literally call for help.

Just this week, local resident Pauline Holehouse called my office to let me know about a power outage that had taken out her electricity, as well as the NBN-facilitated home phone and internet. Not being able to call for help terrorises Pauline and her neighbours. When it comes to the safety of the residents of Longman, this is an unacceptable reality that has been allowed by this government to drag on and to jeopardise the residents' welfare along the way.

I have received feedback, from constituents like Pauline, that work on the mobile phone black spots in Beachmere has remained unstarted. I echo their disappointment that my predecessor only half-heartedly addressed their complaints dating back to January last year. It seems that, when a member of the Liberal Party loses their seat, their commitments to the electorate also go with them. These residents have been left without vital means of communication with family, friends, police, fire and ambulance services, as well as local community services that look after the disadvantaged and at-risk members of our community.

Pauline is not just a local resident, though; she is a champion of her local community at the Beachmere Sands retirement village. The previous member for Longman promised Pauline and the people of Beachmere that a mobile phone base station would be delivered as part of round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program. Disappointingly, though, Pauline and the residents of Beachmere Sands retirement village have been let down and left waiting by this government's empty promises. Pauline and the residents of Beachmere Sands retirement village and their supporters organised, banded together and delivered a petition of nearly 300 signatures calling on the minister and the Liberals to deliver what they had been rightfully promised. But it was not until the issue was picked up by ABC Drive that the minister reluctantly decided to announce that a new mobile phone tower would be delivered in phase 3.

Now, today, in the Caboolture News, Senator Nash has been questioning our efforts in Longman, implying that I should have advised the community about the government's plan before the petition was undertaken. How we could have informed the people of Beachmere of this 'plan' when there was no public listing of it is just beyond me. As far as the community has been concerned, the plan was to have a tower switched on in phase 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program—something that the minister has subsequently marked as a 'mistake' and has said should have been announced as part of phase 3, not phase 2. I know that Pauline and the residents of the Beachmere Sands retirement village hope that this government's most recent announcement of a fully serviced tower in Beachmere is not another 'mistake'.

I would also like, in the time remaining, to reflect on the fact that this speaking spot today was actually the member for Herbert's speaking spot, and that the member for Herbert is unable to be with us today because she has had to do one of the saddest things a daughter or a son can do: yesterday she laid to rest her father, Les. Grief is the price we pay for love, and I know the thoughts of all of us are with the member for Herbert and her family at this time, as they work through their grief and remember, with love, the life of Les.