News

Articles:

Victoria leverages on technology to connect and benefit regional and rural communities

Victoria leverages on technology to connect and benefit regional and rural communities

According
to the recently announced
Budget 2018/19, the Victorian Government will be investing in technology to
connect regional and rural communities in Victoria, as well as helping businesses
state-wide to capture the opportunities of digital economy.

To bridge the
digital divide faced by regional and rural Victoria, the Victorian
Budget 2018/19 includes A$26.8 million to better connect businesses,
farmers and families. This investment builds on the A$45 million investment in
the Connecting Regional Communities Program from the Victorian Budget 2017/18.

The initiatives to connect regional
and rural communities in Victoria include:

(1)   
A$13.5
million to support Victorian small businesses state-wide, including digital
economy roadshows in regional Victoria

The Government will provide additional support to small and
medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs) in Victoria by delivering small business
mentoring services, workshops and themed events, including at the annual Small
Business Festival.

A targeted digital roadshow in regional Victoria will also
provide businesses with practical actions and advice on how to make the most of
the digital economy and reduce cybersecurity risks.

The Victorian Small
Business Commission
’s farm debt mediation services will also be funded to
continue to support Victorian farmers who are undertaking financial mediation
with creditors. Funding is also provided for the refurbishment of the Small
Business Commission, the Small Business Victoria website and to accommodate
staff at the Small Business Commission’s offices.

(2)   
A$11
million for a further round of the Victorian
Mobile Project

The project
aims to build extra telecommunications infrastructure and improve mobile
coverage in blackspot areas across regional Victoria.

The Victorian Government is co-funding 166 new mobile base
stations in areas with poor or no mobile coverage across the state. The new mobile towers will provide
expanded 3G/4G mobile coverage for residents and local businesses.

(3)   
A$300,000
to develop a business case to establish state‑of‑the‑art IT facilities for
education providers in Ovens Murray

On top of
that, the Victorian Government also established 9 Regional Partnerships that
bring together public, private and community sectors to work on the priorities
that matter most to local people.

The Victorian
Budget 2018/19 includes almost A$760 million to deliver on key Regional
Partnerships priorities, which incorporates a number of regional and state-wide
initiatives, including: (1) A$11.6 million to further reduce the digital
divide and better connect regional and rural communities, including funding for
the Wodonga Business Innovation Cluster and Wangaratta Digital Hub, and (2) A$1.7 million to establish a
regional centre of Excellence in the Mallee, to drive research, innovation and
development in key industry sectors.

As reported
earlier
, Victoria investing A$17.6 million to deliver state’s
Cyber Security Strategy. The state’s first ever Cyber Security Strategy will
help protect the privacy of Victorians, while ensuring that the Victorian
Government has the strong cyber security capabilities required to protect the
delivery of public services. The Budget also includes A$2.6 million to assist
the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner to better support
government in protecting the privacy of Victorians.