Councils urgently seek commitment to emergency mobile roaming trial

Published: 23rd February 2022

Queensland councils are urging the Federal Government to immediately commit to a trial of domestic mobile roaming during emergencies, as recommended by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee. 

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO Alison Smith said councils in Australia’s most disaster-prone – and decentralised – state have long sought the deployment of mobile roaming to regional areas to strengthen emergency communications and road safety. 

Ms Smith said Queensland councils would be well-placed to assist in the trial of domestic mobile roaming for emergency situations given their frontline role in disaster response and recovery. 

“The LGAQ welcomes the Committee’s recommendation in its 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review that the Government ‘undertakes a feasibility study to consider the capability for mobile roaming to be deployed in emergency circumstances’,” Ms Smith said. 

“Rolling out mobile roaming is key to ensuring better coverage, connectivity and safety across the state, while also boosting business and economic development.  

“Every one of Queensland’s regional, rural and remote communities contributes to the economic fabric of our nation, and every one of them should have access to the highest possible standard of connectivity to ensure their safety and liveability.” 

Ms Smith said it was time for domestic mobile roaming to be properly considered. 

“It has been five years since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission decided against declaring the need for domestic mobile roaming in the hope that the government and the market would improve services without it,” Ms Smith said. 

“Five years on, the connectivity and safety issues remain. Now is the time to take another look, and a trial of mobile roaming for emergency situations is the best way to demonstrate what could be achieved, were it allowed.  

“We urge the Federal Government to commit to this trial as soon as possible.  

“We also call on the Federal Opposition to commit to the trial, ensuring regional communities they will not be left behind, no matter who wins the coming Federal Election.” 

Ms Smith said the LGAQ and its member councils had made several recommendations to the Regional Telecommunications Review to improve connectivity and digital literacy and to address the patchwork quilt of connectivity across the state. 

“The 12 recommendations in the Review echo the reforms suggested by the LGAQ and member councils, and we urge the Federal Government to adopt each and every one of them.”

Click here to access videos from Boulia Shire Mayor Rick Britton, and Etheridge Shire Mayor Barry Hughes (link will expire 26 February 2022).

For more information, please contact:
Tim Cox, Communications Advisor
Phone: 0436 655 409
Local Government Association of Queensland