Mobile tower welcomed with open arms

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, local resident and lobbyist Tony Keremelevski, Telstra Regional General Manager Chris Taylor, Mobile Black Spot Program Director Peter Lee, Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes and Deputy Mayor John Larter gathered with Goobarragandra residents at the new mobile tower at Sandy Waterfall Creek Travelling Stock Reserve on Sunday.

Prime Minister Michael McCormack joined residents from Goobarragandra at an unveiling of the valley’s new mobile phone tower Sunday morning.

Telstra Regional General Manager Chris Taylor, Mobile Black Spot Program Director Peter Lee, Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes and Deputy Mayor John Larter joined residents, including tower campaigner Tony Keremelevski, at the the Sandy Waterfall Creek Travelling Stock Reserve.

Construction of the tower began early December last year, and was finished on December 18.

Spirits were high, even if temperatures were low on Sunday, and Mr Keremelevski, whose campaigning was crucial in getting the tower built, said it had a “perfectly working signal.”

“It is better than what we thought,” he said. “People are getting a signal who never thought they would.”

To him, the tower brings more than convenience to the area.

“It’s not about bringing a signal to your bedroom or your lounge room for downloading a movie; this is about knowing if you are 100 metre away with a cut leg – call and an ambulance will come,” he said.


“My life and the lives of everybody here are worth saving. Whether it is a three-year- old kid having an epileptic fit you can call an ambulance. The landline here was out 30 per cent of the time. This is about me, you and every other decent person whose lives here being able to make a phone call when they need to.”

He was full of praise for Mr McCormack.

“He’s the real deal,” he said. “He started to help me six years ago, and he was instrumental in this.”

He is also grateful to Mr Lee.

“It is wasn’t for Peter Lee and Michael McCormack this would never have happened.”

He believes last summer’s bushfires underlined the need for such a tower.

“Last year, if we would have had that signal over there, it would have been so much easier, but now we do,” he said.


Mr McCormack said that he appreciated that the coverage there didn’t touch every corner of the region, but indicated that more coverage could be coming.

“We’ve got rolling rounds of this infrastructure, of this program, and as Tony knows and the Mayor knows, we will certainly roll more towers out,” he said.

“We’ve got another round happening at the moment; councils are welcome to apply, communities are welcome to put their expressions of interest in. We want that, we need that, we need to know where we need to fix these black spots.”

To test the effectiveness of the tower, Mr McCormack rang Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton, who duly answered.

Mr Taylor said “technology like the satellite small cell technology allows us to get into areas where it’s going to be difficult to get fibre and other backhaul in, so using a low orbital satellite to actually provide the backhaul allows us to get into areas like this and bring this stuff to reality.”

He thanked the Goobarragandra community for keeping Telstra and the government informed of what was needed.

“At the end of the day, it is about meeting the needs of the community,” he said.