Superior broadband services, a new training centre and better emergency response equipment are making life a lot easier in remote Aboriginal communities in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
Industry and Enterprise Minister Francis Logan today announced that the provision of high-speed broadband and improved telecommunications in six remote communities was now completed.
Mr Logan announced that the second stage of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands Telecommunications project would see another six communities connected.
The Minister made the announcements yesterday after visiting the community of Warakurna near the borders of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The Ngaanyatjarra Lands Telecommunications project is jointly funded by the WA Government, the Federal Government and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarrku.
Mr Logan said the communities of Wingellina, Warburton, Jameson, Blackstone, Wanarn and Warakurna were now connected to high-speed and reliable broadband.
“The 400km of optic fibre that has been laid and the new transmission and DSL equipment installed by Telstra have improved the health, education, justice and business services available to these communities,” he said.
“I visited the community of Wingellina last year and saw first-hand the opportunities this project has created. After visiting the school and seeing how excited the children were to surf the net and see what was on offer in the wider world, I have no doubt of this project’s impact.
“The telecommunications service in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands now rivals that of the services in the metropolitan areas - this was previously unheard of in communities as remote as these.”
The Minister said the second stage of the project would begin soon and involve the communities of Cosmo Newberry, Patjarr, Kanpa, Tjirrkarli, Tjukurla and Kiwirrkurra.
This would ensure the entire 160,000sq.km of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands would have upgraded telecommunications infrastructure.
Ngaanyatjarraku shire president Damian Mclean said the project had connected the Ngaanyatjarra Lands to information and services that were not previously accessible.
“The availability and reliability of telephones in the area have increased dramatically because of this project,” Mr Mclean said.
“We can now be confident that when we pick up a phone and make a call, it will work.”
Telstra Country Wide executive director Peter Fairclough said Telstra shared the vision of the Commonwealth and WA Governments to extend broadband services to remote parts of Australia.
“This telecommunications project clearly demonstrates that commitment,” Mr Fairclough said.
“It means more Australians can benefit from the health, education, business and social opportunities provided by access to fast broadband services.”
Mr Logan also officially opened the new state-of-the-art Warakurna Training Campus, where community members would be able to learn business and computing skills.
“The Ngaanyatjarra Community College Registered Training Organisation will use this facility to provide group and individual training to the community members of the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, further expanding their opportunities,” he said.
“Training and development will focus on programs designed to help local residents find employment.
“The Ngaanyatjarra Lands Telecommunications Project complements this new facility and will ensure community members are given the best training possible.”
Mr Logan said new response teams in Warakurna and Warburton would improve emergency response capabilities in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands.
WA Senator Glenn Sterle, who also visited Warakurna yesterday, handed over two purpose-built emergency response trailers on behalf of the Federal Government.
The trailers were supplied by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority and funded through the Federal Government’s ‘Working Together to Manage Emergencies - Local Grant Scheme’.
The new response teams will receive training from qualified firefighters in Road Accident Rescue to complement the trailers.
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