Tuesday, 2 May, 2017

Residents, farmers and visitors to Gippsland 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 Morwell

• Extending and expanding regional Victoria’s free Wi-Fi program, already implemented in Ballarat and Bendigo

• Internet of Things demonstration projects in the Macalister region, to help local businesses connect with the latest digital technology.

In the agriculture sector these technologies enable remote sensing, automation, monitoring and data collection that provide for better real-time information to optimise on farm practices.

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 Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing:

“Being digitally connected is critical to doing business, for visitors to our Gippsland region and to our farmers who continue to innovate and lead the way. This is a win for local businesses and the entire community.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford:

“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:

“This investment will fill some of the technology gaps in regional Victoria and make sure it isn’t being left behind in our digital economy. Investment in Gippsland’s business districts and in regional innovation is an investment in the future of our state.”