Future of regional communications secured

The Liberal and Nationals Government will invest a further $220 million in regional communications so Australians living outside the major cities can stay reliably connected.

The new pre-Budget investment is part of the Liberals and Nationals Government’s response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, which examined the communication needs of people living in the bush.

“The review makes it absolutely clear that access to 21st century communications is more important than ever before, particularly for Australians living in regional and remote areas,” Minister for Regional Services Bridget McKenzie said.

“With the growth in demand for data and the movement of essential government and industry services online, the timing for this new investment is now.”

The report, 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review: Getting it right out there, put forward recommendations focussed on improved access to telecommunications infrastructure, modern and appropriate consumer protections and digital inclusion.

In response to the report, the Liberal and Nationals Government will establish a $220 million Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package to address these issues. The package includes:

  • $160 million for two new rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program
  • $60 million for a new Regional Connectivity Program
  • A digital tech hub to improve digital literacy

The committee made recommendations to improve the experience of the National Broadband Network (NBN) for Australians in regional, rural and remote areas. The Government is working closely with NBN Co on these recommendations.

The independent review is conducted every three years to examine how people are using telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

The review held 22 regional public consultations nationwide, from Griffith to Cairns and Kalgoorlie to Katherine. More than 380 submissions were received.

The Government’s response is available on the Department of Communications and the Arts website at https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/2018-regional- telecommunications-review.

For more information on the review visit www.rtirc.gov.au.


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