NO SERVICE: Just 14km along the road to Mundubbera from Eidsvold there's no mobile phone service. Noel Thompson is one of many North Burnett residents seriously concerned about the region's numerous black spots.
NO SERVICE: Just 14km along the road to Mundubbera from Eidsvold there's no mobile phone service. Noel Thompson is one of many North Burnett residents seriously concerned about the region's numerous black spots.

Communication breakdown

There has been no response to calls to urgently upgrade mobile phone coverage across the flood-hit Burnett.

In the wake of the devastating floods, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh said the lack of phone coverage was unacceptable, particularly when reliable services were essential to saving lives and properties.

Mobile phone towers are located at 294 Darlington Rd, Binjour, on a water tower in Mundubbera, on Doug McIver's property at Hawkwood and just out of Eidsvold.

So there are many areas with limited or no mobile phone coverage.

Orchards along the Boyne and upstream from Mundubbera regularly experience difficulties.

Mayor Don Waugh said communication was an issue that needed to be addressed for future disasters.

"Crucial contact was not possible at times," Cr Waugh said.

North Burnett Regional Council was often unable to contact district and state contacts during the flood, he said.

Inspector Kevin Gutteridge said more mobile towers were needed, as well as UHF radios during disasters.

"With those towers at least you can get that contact, and hand-held radios mean only the vital information is communicated."

Deputy chief commissioner for volunteer group ACREM Joe Cullen said UHF radios would be invaluable in times of disaster in the repeaters were properly maintained. 

"In the Mundubbera area, there is a channel 6 UHF repeater located just outside of town, which in the days before mobile phones, was maintained by locals who contributed to its running cost," Mr Cullen said.

"I understand there isn't a lot of work needed to have this particular repeater repaired and operational again. It has been noted to have worked as far away as the west Eidsvold area, and to Gayndah.

"But without local support, it will remain non-viable."

Mr Cullen also said there were two repeaters at Mount Perry, which were also non-operational. 

Mr McVeigh joined Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in calling for all levels of government to build resilience, including upgrading telecommunications. 

Disaster recovery co-ordinator Brett Pointing said the response had been outstanding under difficult circumstances.


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