Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council wins 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government

Media Release

JM108/2018

19 June 2018

  • Emergency telecommunications system keeps locals in touch during natural disasters
  • Typical of the high quality services local councils provide across Australia
  • Project selected from a field of 10 major category award winners

The Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council has taken out the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government with their innovative approach to ensuring lifesaving communications remain accessible during natural disaster events.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh made the announcement in Canberra tonight commending the extremely high standard of entries that demonstrate what local governments can achieve for their communities.

“The National Awards for Local Government celebrate exceptional projects that are making a significant difference to the lives of people in towns and cities across Australia in areas like the arts, regional economic growth, public safety, disability access and strengthening Indigenous communities,” Dr McVeigh said.

“The Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council's success in establishing a standalone emergency telecommunications system will enable members of the community to stay in touch when times get tough. It is a truly outstanding and possibly lifesaving result for the remote community of Cape York.”

“The council's innovative,valley-wide Emergency Management Network and Community Forum provides locals with a wind and rain resistant telecommunications system that turns the valley into a ‘hot spot’ thereby ensuring residents can continue to communicate via the council's secure network when the commercial system fails.

“Based on microwave radio link technology, the solar-powered system operates independently of the community's energy supplier to support a range of devices including smartphones, voice-over IP hardware phones and personal computers.

“The network can also be used, free of charge during an emergency, to call, text and email other network users and to access council-approved websites including: Transport and Main Roads, the Bureau of Meteorology and the community's energy supplier.

“I want to congratulate all the 2018 category winners, particularly the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government winner, Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, for its innovative approach to overcoming the local community's susceptibility to losing telecommunications links when severe weather hits the area.”

A full list of the 2018 category and highly commended winners is available on the National Awards for Local Government website: infrastructure.gov.au/nalg