Regional Victoria will be connected like never before, with the Andrews Labor Government announcing better broadband, mobile coverage and Wi-Fi hubs across our state.
The Labor Government’s Victorian Budget 2017/18 includes $45 million for the Connecting Regional Communities Program (CRCP), which is in direct response to all nine Regional Partnerships calling for improvements to digital infrastructure.
The CRCP will develop region-specific strategies, with the Labor Government working alongside each Regional Partnership to establish practical solutions to their communities’ digital needs and priorities.
The CRCP will also deliver further funding to improve mobile phone coverage in regional blackspots. Projects based on Regional Partnership Priorities include:
- Trials to improve broadband in industrial and business precincts in North Geelong, Morwell and Horsham
- Extending regional Victoria’s free Wi-Fi program, already implemented in Ballarat and Bendigo
- Internet of Things demonstration projects in the North West, Macalister, Serpentine and the Goulburn-Murray region, to help local businesses connect with the latest digital technology.
The CRCP builds on and extends the Labor Government’s successful investments in improving regional mobile coverage and free public Wi-Fi projects.
While digital infrastructure and telecommunications are a Commonwealth responsibility, the CRCP will help fill some of the gaps being ignored by our Federal Government.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“Our Regional Partnerships have told us that improving digital access is an absolute must.”
“We know how important internet connectivity is for farmers, small businesses and families – that’s why we’re making it a priority.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Small Business, Trade and Innovation Phillip Dalidakis
“Like anywhere in our state, reliable broadband is vital for local businesses and local jobs.”
“This investment will help fill some of the existing gaps, and make sure regional Victoria isn’t being left behind in our digital economy.”