Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson


    Major budget boost for regional telecommunications program

    14/05/2000 6:00 AM

    The WA Government will continue to bridge the telecommunications gap for country people through funding initiatives outlined in this year’s State Budget.

    Works and Services Minister Rob Johnson said today an up-front capital contribution of $10 million had been provided to establish and improve regional telecommunications infrastructure through the Statewide Telecommunications Enhancement Program (STEP).

    He said the Government would use its on-going country data services expenditure to help carriers build significant new or improved telecommunications infrastructure throughout regional WA.

    The work is being done by Contract and Management Services on behalf of the Office of Information and Communications in the Department of Commerce and Trade.

    “Government agencies will use the infrastructure to deliver a greatly expanded and enhanced range of Online and communications-based services in areas such as health, education, policing and justice,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Through the STEP program, Government agencies will have access to telecommunications services approximating those already available in the city.”

    Mr Johnson said to date, satellite equipment had been installed at 91 WA police service sites and one Ministry of Justice site.
    Mr Johnson said another significant Budget item was a three-year $3 million package designed to make Government purchasing more efficient.

    The money will be spent to advance the development of the Government Electronic Market (GEM) – an Internet interface between Government purchasing staff and suppliers.

    Mr Johnson said GEM would create significant savings in procurement management costs and expand opportunities for local suppliers of services and goods.

    “Implementation of a fully integrated, highly secure Online procurement service is expected to be available by September this year,” Mr Johnson said.

    “Ten lead agencies will participate in the initial stage with progressive roll out to other agencies continuing across 2000-2001 with the aim of all Government agencies being Online within a five-year time frame.”

    In another Budget initiative, a further $70,000 has been allocated for the supply and installation of satellite receiving equipment to 35 regional telecentres.

    Media contact: Fran Hodge: (08) 9481 3244