A significant communications black hole in the region has been filled with the official launch on Friday of the new Telstra tower at Gundillion.
Around 40 local community members and invited guests crowded into the Gundillion Hall where Deputy Premier and Monaro MP John Barilaro, along with Telstra regional general manager Chris Taylor, Braidwood Community Bank manager Nick Fry and QPRC deputy mayor Trevor Hicks, joined locals in symbolically cutting a ribbon to launch the tower.
It’s been a long road for the Gundillion community members. They began lobbying for the tower in early 2015, after all landlines in the district went down after a storm, leaving residents in the region with no communications for five weeks.
A small group, including Mandy O’Brien, Paul Scammell, Di Izzard and Clare Kaveunenko, commenced a lobbying process to the federal government and Telstra.
Because the region to be covered is a locality, not a town, the community needed to raise money for the tower. With local fundraising plus contributions of $50,000 each from the Braidwood Community Bank and QPRC, a total of $110,000 was raised.
Mandy O’Brien said that since the tower was switched on in April, there have been two car accidents along the Cooma Road south of Gundillion, and in both cases, one involving a young woman on her own, the motorists were able to phone for assistance.
“The tower has already paid for itself,” she said.
Mr Barilaro paid tribute to the community’s spirit and commitment. He said that around 75 percent of the area of NSW now has mobile connectivity.
The new tower will not only service residents in the Gundillion-Krawarree area, but will also cover large parts of the Deua National Park, greatly assisting emergency services.