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April 13, 2016

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We Deserve Better

May 8, 2016

 

I began collecting signatures today – I need at least 100 and to pay $1000 to the AEC in order to officially nominate as a candidate.

I dropped in on a friend in Euroa to ask her to sign the nomination form and ended up helping her wrestle with her computer and phone – she received an SMS from Centrelink saying she had a new message on her MyGov account, but her internet wouldn't load the page.

I happened to have my mobile internet modem in the car, so after finding just the right spot to hold it (in the kitchen, above my head), she was eventually able to load the message. It told her that her application had been denied because the requested paperwork hadn’t been received (it was faxed to them on the due date).

Rather than have her drive the 110km round trip to the nearest Centrelink office, I rang on her behalf, they were engaged. We couldn’t even join the queue. I kept trying whilst she continued with her work; eventually getting on to the recorded message claiming it would be a 30 minute wait. That was fine, until my mobile phone dropped out just after the friendly sounding staff member answered!

I then rang back using a landline, but the sound quality was awful. Eventually I got through, passed the phone to her and left to take my Mum to an appointment – I’m hoping she got the issue sorted.

I’m writing about this is because it underlines the need for a fibre-optic NBN, for more investment in mobile blackspots and in our ability as rural people to access essential services – the status quo simply isn’t good enough.

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