Only $100,000 spent on telecommunications since Black Summer

Only $100,000 spent on telecommunications since Black Summer Main Image

15 February 2021

I rise today fresh from a 9.5 km walk through the both beautiful and traumatised landscape of the Snowy Valleys.

TumbaTrek was the brainchild of the late Deputy PM – Tim Fischer.

On and off since 1985, hundreds of people have gathered each year to walk and talk with all levels of government and share their ideas for our community.

And I thank the current Deputy PM for entrusting me with Mr Fischer’s walking stick.

Better telecommunications was a major talking point as we weaved in and out of towering gum trees over the weekend.

Tumbarumba and surrounds, like many communities in the Mighty Eden-Monaro, found itself cut off from the world during the darkest days of our Black Summer Bushfires.

That sense of isolation is now a deep part of the community’s trauma.

The Morrison Government says it has committed $2 billion dollars to bushfire recovery and that “helping Australians recover is a national priority”.

Good words Mr Deputy Speaker – but sadly hollow words for the people I spoke with at TumbaTrek.

Of the more than 27 million dollars those opposite have committed to “Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters” …. just one hundred thousand dollars has been spent.

Over a year on from the worst natural disaster this county and our community has ever witnessed, this government has spent less than zero-point-three-six percent of the allocated budget.

Reliable phone and internet connection is an essential service.

Especially for the burnt-out communities I represent – not just because of the obvious practicalities and economic opportunities but for the peace of mind it represents.

With every hot day, and with every plume of smoke - these communities go right back to the day that homes and lives were destroyed.

Time and time again, it’s too little, too late from this government.

Deliver on your word and deliver better telecommunications.

Photo: TumbaTrek 2021

Media enquiries - Ian Campbell, phone 0417 482 171