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5 December, 2020

Extending battery back-up for regional and remote phone towers in North Queensland

Mobile phone towers across North Queensland will be able to keep operating longer if the power fails as a result of natural disasters, thanks to a major new investment by the Morrison McCormack Government.

The Government is funding Telstra and Optus to extend the battery back up at 10 mobile phone towers in the electorate of Kennedy to provide a minimum of 12 hours of back-up power.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said telecommunications, including mobile phone towers, need reliable power sources to operate.

“This investment will allow mobile phone towers to keep operating for at least 12 hours after the power goes out, making a real difference for regional and remote communities during and after a natural disaster,” he said.

North Queensland-based Senator, Susan McDonald, said extending the battery life of the mobile phone towers was critical in an area prone to cyclone and flood-induced power failures.

“This is another practical, commonsense investment by The Morrison McCormack government because we know that being able to contact loved ones and emergency services can be difficult in remote areas at the best of times, let alone during natural disasters,” she said.

“This latest initiative includes towers at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse in the southern Gulf, Watsonville near Herberton and Mount Carbine near Mareeba.

“One of the biggest complaints I receive when talking to people in more remote parts of Queensland is the unreliability of mobile and internet connections, so I’m really pleased the Government is responding.

“Reliable communications in remote areas is not just about keeping in touch with loved ones, it’s important for business, and above all, it can save lives.”

The Government is providing a total of $13.2 million to Telstra, Optus and TPG to extend the battery back-up at 467 mobile phone towers across Australia, under stage one of the program.

The FNQ tower locations are: Burke & Wills Roadhouse, Watsonville, Mount Carbine, Lake Barrine, Pawngilly, Tinaroo, Dalbeg, Goldsborough Valley, Gulf Developmental Road between Georgetown and Croydon, and Long Pocket.

Pawngilly and Tinaroo are due to come online by April 2021, and the other sites are yet to be determined but it is hoped they will be a similar timeframe.

More information on the program is available at

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