The small community of Drake celebrated a new mobile black spot phone tower last Friday, officially opened by deputy prime minister and member for New England Barnaby Joyce. Mr Joyce visited the area last year and one of the chief concerns residents expressed to him was poor communications.
“I’m delighted to be able to attend this important event,” he said. During last year’s visit Mr Joyce spoke with Ridley Bell, the owner and managing director of the Mountain Blue Farm blueberry plantation.
“Last year Ridley expected to harvest up to 300,000 trays of the berries, employing up to 400 people until early December,” Mr Joyce said.
“This year with the expansion of his blueberry orchards he expects to use between 700 and 800 workers yielding in the vicinity of 400,000 to 500,000 trays.
“With the installation of a good communication system, which can assist with coordinating workers, the flow of produce to packing sheds and organising transport will expedite his blueberries to markets across the nation,” he said.
Telstra Country Wide area general manager for North Coast NSW, Michael Marom, said the expansion of mobile coverage in the area was an example of Telstra’s ongoing commitment to regional and rural Australia.
“This is a significant moment for our customers in Drake who have had their call answered for better mobile coverage,” Mr Marom said.