Mark Coulton

Funding success

• Vad Carey (Condobolin Community Centre), Heather Blackley (WPRD), Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton and Anne Coffey (WPRD) were all smiles last Thursday. Mr Coulton was in town to congratulate community groups on successful funding applications for Volunteer Grants. MB

By Melissa Blewitt

The Condobolin Community Centre will benefit from a $4,200 funding boost through the Federal Government’s Volunteer Grants program.
The funding will be used to purchase a reverse cycle air conditioner for the facility, which will be installed into the Pottery Room. Western Plains Regional Development assisted the Condobolin Community Centre in writing the grant application.
Community Centre spokesperson Vad Carey said the new air conditioner would enable the potters to be comfortable in both winter and summer.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton visited Condobolin last Thursday, to congratulate the Community Centre on securing funding.
“The grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 enable organisations, like the Condobolin Community Centre, to better support their volunteers by purchasing much-needed equipment, training and transport,” he explained.
“The energy, expertise and time our volunteers give to our community supports those most in need and represents what Australian communities are all about – giving a helping hand.
“I’m glad to see that local organisations in Condobolin and around the Parkes Electorate, will have this support to continue their valuable work.”

Yellow Mountain misses black spot funding

Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has called the Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot program “a win for regional Australia”, but those living to the north and west of Condobolin are feeling left in the dark.

• Telstra’s map of their 3G mobile network coverage reveals a gapping hole north west of Condobolin – one of the largest black spots in NSW. A proposed tower on Yellow Mountain, which would have largely filled this, missed out on funding in Round One of the Mobile Black Spots Program. Source: Telstra

By Lara Pearce

Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has called the Government’s $100 million Mobile Black Spot program “a win for regional Australia”, but those living to the north and west of Condobolin are feeling left in the dark.

“We were gutted on Thursday,” said farmer Roger Todd, who lives 60 kilometres north west of Condobolin.

Roger Todd and neighbour Fred Colless have been leading the charge for a mobile phone and data tower on Yellow Mountain, supported by the Lachlan Shire Council.

Yellow Mountain is 72 kilometres north west of Condobolin, in the middle of one of the state’s largest black spots.

“We were all surprised,” Roger said. “I thought we were in with a really good shot, given that we’ve not absolutely no mobile service. Given that we have got the power and the towers already [on Yellow Mountain], I thought it was a no brainer.”

The Mobile Black Spot program is jointly funded by the Federal Government, the state governments and the telecommunications providers, Telstra and Optus.

Last Thursday, they announced the location of almost 500 new or upgraded mobile base stations, covering around 3,000 mobile black spots across the nation.

New towers will be built to the south east of Condobolin at Ungarie, Waroo, Bedgerabong and Manna Mountain, but no funding was announced for any towers north west of Condobolin.

Before the NSW election in March, local member and then Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries, said a mobile tower with data on Yellow Mountain was his “number one priority”.

Mark Coulton also lent his support, submitting the funding application on behalf of the community.

“It is extremely disappointing,” said Fred.

“However, we haven’t given up yet. There is another round of funding.”

The second round of applications is now open, with the Federal Government providing a further $60 million in funding. Locations of towers for round two will be announced in a year and a half.

Roger Todd says he hopes the State Government will match this funding, as they did with round one, and mobile and data for Yellow Mountain will be secured.

“If we don’t get this funded federally now, it is never going to happen privately with Telstra,” he said.

“If we don’t get it, we’ll have to look into putting our own towers up and pinching service off someone else, and all we are going to do is overload the system even more – that is what they are pushing us in to.”

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