Queensland MP George Christensen has called on the Federal Government to "get the basics right" and fix Australia's mobile phone network first before broadband.
He was making his condolences following the death of 17-year-old Che-Nezce Perrie Shepherd, who drowned in a popular swimming hole near Townsville in December.
The teen's foot became trapped in the rising waters of Alligator Creek, while friends tried in vain to save her.
Christensen said the tragedy was compounded by the fact that her friends could not call for help because the area — in his electorate of Dawson — had no mobile phone service.
"It is an absolute disgrace that here we are in the 21st century and an area south of a major regional city like Townsville can have such poor mobile phone coverage," he told parliament on Thursday.
"This sad story is an example of what can happen if the problem is not fixed."
He told the government, which was "hell-bent" on its National Broadband Network program, to fix the mobile phone network first.
"Get the basics right, and then maybe we can prevent a tragic situation like this happening ever again," he said.
The comments echoed those of Victorian Premier Tim Baillieu, who said in December that "before taxpayers fund an NBN, basic services such as mobile phone reception in many regional and metropolitan areas of Victoria should be addressed and improved wherever possible".