Speech to the House of Representatives – 3G Network Shutdown

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In the Berowra electorate, we lag behind the rest of Australia when it comes to telco, because we’re neither city nor rural and parts of the electorate fall through the cracks.

As the Minister for Communications said last week about gaps in her own electorate’s telco: ‘This is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity’—and I agree.

Over recent months, residents across the electorate have been expressing concerns to me about the impending switch off of the 3G network.

The problem with the switch off of the 3G network is that it leaves people across my electorate who don’t have access to 4G or 5G with nothing.

A recent survey of my electorate revealed that in suburbs like Galston, Arcadia, Wisemans Ferry, Milsons Passage, Maroota, Annangrove, Mount Colah and Laughtondale—even in Cherrybrook, Pennant Hills and Hornsby—people are still relying on the 3G network and cannot get the 4G or 5G network.

For those stranded on boats in the Hawkesbury River, the 3G network is a lifeline. Some of those responding included a doctor on call for the Westmead Emergency Department, several RFS volunteers and a lady bedridden and on oxygen.

There’s not a shortage of technology—only a shortage of will.

I welcome the announcement by Minister Rowland of a working group inquiring into the 3G shutdown, with a focus on 000 calls. In 2021 I proposed in a private member’s bill that a telco had to continue to operate a 3G network until the minister could certify that a substitute 4G or 5G network was available.

I encourage the minister to adopt my plan to ensure that no-one is left behind.

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