Dereel residents don’t care how they get it, or who gives it to them, they just want a mobile phone tower.
More than 600 signatures have been collected by a passionate group of locals leading the charge for the vital piece of infrastructure, which, they say, could be life-saving.
That need was demonstrated in horrific fashion in March, when 16 homes were destroyed in a bushfire at Dereel and in some instances, there was no warning for those involved.
Dereel’s Ruth Uren said there was no greater policy issue at this election for Dereel.
“We’ve been fighting like hell because when you nearly lose people out on the fire ground, it makes it that much more urgent,” she said.
“We don’t care who does it, we just want it done.”
Fellow resident Tracey Taylor said the lack of temporary provisions by service providers was also a concern.
“When the fire was on they didn’t even send out a portable tower, but they were able to have one for Rokewood when a bike ride was on,” she said.
“During that bike ride we had amazing phone service – but they couldn’t bring it out after the fire when we really needed it.”
Dereel’s Julie Donaghy said the lack of reception also affected the emergency messaging system.
“I didn’t get mine until three hours later, but there were a lot of people who didn’t get theirs until the next day,” she said.
“A lot didn’t get the messages on their home phones either.”
The Liberal Party has promised $100 million for building base stations and other infrastructure to fix mobile blackspots nationwide, while Labor say NBN towers can be used to “host” telecommunications equipment to improve coverage.
A tower had been planned for Dereel several years ago but was moved to Rokewood after residents objected to its proposed location.