Permanent satellite phones to fire-prone Vic communities with low/no phone signal

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Many of the towns and villages in bushfire prone areas have very poor or no mobile phone coverage at the best of times. Having no ability to communicate your safety to loved ones during an emergency compounds the distress people feel.

Authorities have also said that, in some instances, the thickness of the smoke has hampered their ability to conduct surveillance so as to determine just what is happening in remote areas. We, the people of Victoria, call on the Victorian Government to:

1. Work with the relevant agencies to identify bushfire prone communities that have low/no phone coverage, and then provide a satellite phone to each of these communities to use in emergencies,
2. Guarantee the necessary technical support to ensure the integrity of the phone is maintained for the foreseeable future,
3. Provide a back-up battery so that functioning is not compromised by a prolonged loss of power.

We commend the Victorian Government, the CFA and all the organisations and people who have done incredible work to respond to the emergency.  We ask that this simple measure be implemented so as to provide an extra level of assistance and information exchange in forthcoming fire seasons.