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Kellerberrin benefits from new telecentre
17/11/2000 4:30 PM
The Kellerberrin community is today celebrating a unique blending of new age technologies with a bygone era, following the official opening of an impressive new telecentre in the heritage-listed 1914 Fire Station building.
Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan said the new facility offered modern equipment and services such as computers and the Internet, scanning, printing, fax and photocopying, desktop publishing, video-conferencing and digital photography.
It also provided, for the first time, local access to a range of TAFE, university and community education courses, helping to overcome the tyranny of distance for local residents.
“Telecentres are revolutionising the concept of distance for regional communities by giving everyone - from businesses and community groups to seniors and children - a fair go in utilising online services and new technologies,” Mr Cowan said.
“The services now being provided were unimaginable in 1914 when the old fire station was built, yet both are historic landmarks in the development of Kellerberrin.
“Housing the telecentre in the old fire station reinforced the giant strides which have occurred in the past century, and provides a wonderful merging of two eras.”
Mr Cowan said that prior to its decommissioning in 1997, the fire station was the oldest still in use in WA. The WA Fire Service handed the building to the shire in 1998 and, after undertaking extensive renovations, the shire was now providing it rent free for the telecentre.
The Minister applauded the Kellerberrin community on its initiative in getting the telecentre established, saying it would lead to many social and economic dividends for families and local businesses.
“There has been a tremendous level of community support, from the huge commitment of time and effort by committee members and volunteers, through to office equipment and furniture donated by the shire and the local hospital,” he said.
“Increasingly, telecentres have become a catalyst for the delivery of many important, additional services to small communities, and I have no doubt this will occur in Kellerberrin.
“Across the State, some telecentres now provide everything from in-store banking through to on-line legal advice. They are one of the great success stories for regional areas and are an important factor in building stronger regional communities.”
There are now 79 telecentres funded across WA and Mr Cowan said more were on the way.
Telecentres are jointly funded by the State Government’s Telecommunications Initiative Fund and the Federal
Government’s Networking the Nation program, with the funds administered through the Department of Commerce and Trade.
Funding includes $30,000 for start-up equipment and $20,000 annually towards salary for a Telecentre Co-ordinator.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595