THE Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, has urged Telstra’s Chief Executive, Vicki Brady, to keep investing in disaster resilience and improved telecommunications coverage, during her visit to Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.

Mr Chester met with the Telstra boss during her tour of the region and emphasised the social and economic benefits of improved telecommunications in the region.

“It was good to see the Telstra boss taking the time to visit rural and regional communities to discuss telecommunications issues and the company’s plans for the future,” Mr Chester said.

“Connectivity is both a huge challenge and an opportunity in regions like Gippsland. If we improve our connectivity it makes it possible for businesses and individuals to operate successfully in a regional location and there’s obvious benefits in terms of health, safety and social activities.

“In our meeting, I highlighted the areas in Gippsland where we still have gaps in coverage and require further investment, along with the need to improve resilience in disaster-prone regions.

“When the power goes out following a storm or bushfire, it often doesn’t take long for us to lose communications as well, which adds a layer of risk for residents.

“As a country girl herself (Holbrook in rural NSW), I was impressed with Vicki’s understanding of rural and regional challenges and commitment to keep investing in new opportunities across Gippsland.

“I know we still have many issues to overcome but the mobile phone coverage and broader telecommunications connectivity has been improving every year and I appreciated the chance to provide direct feedback to the Telstra CEO.”