Mr Speaker, the death of 17 year old Che-Nezce Perrie Shepherd at Bowling Green Bay National Park in Alligator Creek in the electorate of Dawson was horribly tragic.
On the 12th December last year, Che was swimming with friends when her foot become trapped under a rock. It was raining heavily that day and she was trapped in the rising flood water. Her friends tried frantically to free her foot and keep her head above the rising water. They tried to save her for over an hour, but sadly Che-Nezce drowned.
What is so tragic about this story is that her friends trying to save her were using there mobile phone to call for help – but there is no mobile phone coverage. It is notoriously bad in the community of Alligator Creek. I am contacted by many constituents about the problem with mobile phone coverage in the area.
It is an absolute disgrace that in this day and age a community just south of a major centre like Townsville can have such poor mobile phone coverage, a basic service that people in capital cities take for granted. And this sad story is an example of what can happen if this problem is not fixed.
Unfortunately, we have a government hell bent on building a national broad band network, but I have to say to the government, the people living in Alligator Creek need decent mobile phone coverage first. So I call on the Communications Minister and the Government to get the basics right and fix the problem of mobile phone coverage in this community. I call on them to do something to fix it to prevent a tragedy like the one that happened to young Che-Nezce Perrie Shepherd from happening in the future.