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Fitzroy Crossing suffers phone blackout as "kids run amok"

Giovanni Torre -

Fitzroy Crossing residents in Western Australia's Kimberley region have been unable to call police - or anyone else - during a four-day communications blackout, while local youth cause mayhem.

Chief operations officer of Leedal, which operates the local IGA and two venues, Kandula Herat told National Indigenous Times the phone lines being out meant residents were unable to call for help if their homes or cars were targetted.

"Telstra has been off line since last Friday and it just came back on at around 11am today, so nearly four days, Friday through to Monday morning, and the kids are running amok as well," he said.

"We have been trying to contact Telstra and can't get hold of anyone, the only phones working are mobiles with Starlink.

"One property, the Crossing Inn, I had to close Friday evening because Telstra was out and all the systems went down, like Eftpos.

"Basically the kids have been running amock for the past few weeks, breaking into the IGA three times including last night, they hot-wired the truck and rammed the front gate with our own truck. They broke into staff accommodation, they cut the fence, they smashed windows, tried to hot-wire cars. They broke into the Lodge, they broke into the Crossing Inn but when the alarm goes off they run away."

Mr Herat said staff, like other locals, were unable to contact police to ask for help.

"Luckily we had Starlink, everyone else in town, including our staff, couldn't contact anyone, not even police," he said.

"The kids broke into the child-care centre and ruined everything, they broke into the school. Something more needs to be done."

A Telstra spokesperson told National Indigenous Times that a power outage drove the problem, and a power technician attended the site, getting services back online Monday.

"Over the weekend there was a loss of mains power to the Telstra base station that provides mobile coverage to Fitzroy Crossing. A Telstra power tech today attended the site and identified the issue. We restored 4G services at 10.55am but found an additional problem with 3G services which needed to be fixed. 3G coverage was returned at 1.05pm today.

"Nbn, Starlink, payphones and landline telephones were not impacted during this time. Telstra will continue to monitor the mobile site over coming days to ensure it continues to work like it should. Telstra apologises for any inconvenience caused while our mobile site was off air," he said.

National Indigenous Times has contacted Fitzroy Crossing police for comment.

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