Phone coverage must improve to keep public safe in fire season, federal MP Tony Pasin says

Federal MP Tony Pasin, third from right, pitches in with Blaze Aid volunteers last month. Photo: Supplied.
Federal MP Tony Pasin, third from right, pitches in with Blaze Aid volunteers last month. Photo: Supplied.

Better mobile phone coverage will be "critical" to public safety in future bushfires, federal MP Tony Pasin says.

The Liberal Member for Barker highlighted the issue when federal Parliament returned last Tuesday, as he offered condolences to everyone affected by the recent fires in the Adelaide Hills, on Kangaroo Island and elsewhere.

"Mobile phone service is no longer a luxury; it's a necessity in many situations," he said.

"While better regional communications can have a positive impact on our regional economic activity, it's also a critical safety issue.

"While we must always be vigilant and never rely on one form of communication, having limited options to begin with is unsettling, to say the least."

He vowed to continue lobbying more senior members of the Coalition government for extra funding to address the issue.

In the meantime, he thanked Blaze Aid and other volunteer organisations, State Emergency Service personnel, government and forestry workers and firefighters - "the heroes of this summer" - for all they had done to serve their communities.

In state Parliament, state MP Adrian Pederick expressed a similar sentiment last Thursday, and thanked the likes of farm fire units, the Australian Army and the Salvation Army as well.

"It makes you really proud to be an Australian and a South Australian ... to see what has gone on," he said.

For the future, he called for changes to the way heritage scrub and native vegetation were managed, inside and outside conservation parks.

More burn-offs might help stop some fires, he said.

Mr Pederick, a Country Fire Service member, spent five days fighting the fire on Kangaroo Island last month.

Mr Pasin also spent time volunteering with Blaze Aid in the Adelaide Hills and at Keilira, in the South East, during January.

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