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Victoria develops 9 regional partnerships to boost digital connectivity

Victoria develops 9 regional partnerships to boost digital connectivity

The
Victorian-first programme was announced
by Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford. The programme includes
investigative fieldwork and mapping of current services including mobile
coverage, improved fixed broadband for businesses, and digital hubs and
co-working spaces.

Nine
regional partnerships in Victoria will share A$1 million from the Victorian
Government to develop comprehensive digital plans to address the needs and
priorities of their region. Each plan will include a complete picture of digital infrastructure needs and identify the local opportunities that unleash the latest economic and social potential of using new technology.

“Improved digital connectivity will bring considerable
benefits to regional Victoria – improving health, education and employment
outcomes, and supporting businesses, economic growth and jobs in the region,”
said Minister Pulford.

The
nine regional partnerships have been established in Barwon, Central Highlands,
Gippsland, Goulburn, Great South Coast, Loddon Campaspe, Ovens Murray, Mallee
and Wimmera Southern Mallee.

Across
the nine regional partnerships is the common need to address the digital divide
when it comes to access and use of quality infrastructure and services. 

“We know that local communities are best placed to determine
their priorities. We heard that digital connectivity was an absolute must for
our Regional Partnerships – and we’re getting on with the job,” said Minister
Pulford.

This
A$1-million funding is in direct response to the community following all nine regional
partnerships calling for improvements to digital infrastructure.

Over the past 18 months, the regional partnerships have made
a significant impact. These regional partnerships have led to a A$45 million
boost in the Victorian Budget 2017/18 for digital initiatives across the state.

Improving
connectivity to boost the digital economy has been a priority for the Victorian
Government. The A$45-million boost aims to give regional Victorian homes and
businesses access to mobile and broadband technologies enabling them to
participate in the digital economy.

As reported
earlier
, the investment from the Victorian Government will include: (1) A$11
million for the Mobile Black Spots program with a focus on increasing mobile
telephone coverage in flood and fire prone areas with poor coverage, (2) A$12
million for projects to support the adaption of internet enabled on-farm
technologies in Victoria’s North-West, the Macalister Irrigation District, the
Murray-Darling Basin and the Serpentine region, (3) A$7 million for regional
enhanced broadband projects in Morwell, North Geelong and Horsham, (4) A$7
million for Digital Economy Plan initiatives to drive innovation and increase
the competitiveness of regional industries, (5) A$7 million for free public
Wi-Fi in Shepparton and Geelong, and (6) A$1 million to improve regional
services through access to government communications infrastructure.

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