The coastal Wheatbelt town of Jurien Bay is joining Western Australia’s telecentre community.
Regional Development Minister Hendy Cowan said that to ensure Jurien Bay got the benefits as quickly as possible, the telecentre would have a temporary home at the local library.
“Initially it will offer word processing, education and training, scanning, fax services and e-mail facilities,” Mr Cowan said.
“Later this year, it will collocate with a family resource centre to be built in Jurien Bay for Family and Children’s Services. When that happens, the telecentre will also be able to offer videoconferencing facilities, as well as desktop publishing and other communication tools.”
Mr Cowan said telecentres around the State were now providing, 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.
"These facilities 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,” he said.
Mr Cowan said a steering committee, representing a range of community interests and experience, had been working for many months to get the telecentre established.
"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 Jurien Bay,” he said.
"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."
The Jurien Bay Telecentre is the 81st to be established in the network across WA and Mr Cowan said more would be delivered under a Coalition Government.
He said there had been enthusiastic support for the telecentre from the local Jurien community, including Agricultural Region MLC Dexter Davies, who had been involved in the project from its inception.
“The project is consistent with the Government’s collocation policy for country communities, which aims to bring together Government agencies in a multi-function, central location, thereby increasing the range of services provided,” Mr Davies said.
“It is a key component of the Coalition Government’s commitment to building stronger communities.
“This centre will be community-owned and managed, which should ensure it remains relevant and effective.”
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.
Jurien Bay is to get half-time Telecentre funding of $15,000 for equipment and $10,000 as a contribution to salaries from the Telecentres Initiative Fund, with a further $15,000 for equipment and $10,000 for salaries when it moves to its permanent home.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9222-9595