LGAQ welcomes $4m Doomadgee-Burketown optic fibre project
Friday 5 May 2017
The Local Government Association of Queensland has welcomed this morning’s commissioning of the $4m Doomadgee to Burketown optic fibre project, set to greatly improve Burke Shire’s digital capability through faster internet speeds and next generation mobile phone services.
Burke Shire Mayor Ernie Camp and Councillors, Senator Ian Macdonald, Minister Assisting the Premier for North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke, and representatives from Telstra were all on-site to celebrate the community-changing event.
Acting LGAQ CEO Sarah Buckler, speaking at the event via video-conference in Brisbane, said improved telecommunications in rural and regional Queensland cut to the core of the LGAQ agenda to ensure councils and their communities were connected to participate in the digital economy.
“For some time the mantra of ‘fix our highways, fix our towns’ has been part of the LGAQ’s strategy with the Commonwealth and State governments, to raise the need to address fundamental telecommunication issues for bush and Indigenous councils,” Ms Buckler said.
“Having robust and reliable rural telecommunications is vital for councils in communicating and transacting with their towns, business and government and the social and commercial benefits that result.”
The Burke Shire campaign involved Ministerial and Parliamentarian briefings, a submission, and reports and responses to discussion papers, to put councils’ digital connectivity on the state and federal agenda.
“The LGAQ is delighted to be working with Burke Shire in getting this project up and running,” Ms Buckler said.
“We worked with Burke Shire to highlight the opportunities that improved communications can provide in voice and data services and new business models, as well as areas like Wi-Fi and inland tourism.
“We are continuing this relationship by exploring ways to extend the optic fibre from Burketown to Normanton, which would provide a new network loop, significantly increasing the robustness of the telecommunications for a large part of North West Queensland.
“The 120km Doomadgee-Burketown optic fibre project is a great example of the three levels of government working together to drive local outcomes.”
Further improvements are expected with the delivery of base stations under the Commonwealth Government’s mobile black spots program, which was significantly supported by the State Government. The LGAQ also assisted in funding the Burke and Wills site in the region.
The LGAQ’s recently released Advocacy Action Plan continues to recognise the need to improve telecommunications in rural and regional areas.
The Association has been working with councils in developing applications for Commonwealth and State funding that would significantly improve telecommunications, particularly in Cape York and the Torres Strait.