More funding for communications projects across Australia

Regional communities and areas across the country, including a significant Tasmania tourist attraction, will benefit from improved connectivity as a result of the latest round of the Coalition Government’s Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) announced today in Hobart.

Federal Regional Communications Minister, Mark Coulton said the Morrison McCormack Government had funded an additional 51 projects, totalling $27 million (GST inclusive), in the latest tranche announced today.

“Locals and tourists visiting and staying at the iconic Tahune Airwalk, near Geeveston, will soon enjoy better digital connectivity, meaning they can stay in touch and share more photos of pristine southern Tasmania,” Minister Coulton said.

“This project will make the area more accessible online and in person, which will help the area to rebound from devastating bushfires two years ago, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Minister Coulton, who was joined by Senator for Tasmania, Jonno Duniam to make the announcement, said the first tranche of the RCP had funded 81 projects, including five in Tasmania, meaning that following today’s announcement, 132 bespoke connectivity projects would be delivered across the country.

Assistant Minister Duniam said the Coalition Government had again demonstrated its support for Tasmania by providing the infrastructure to help Tasmanians do business and stay connected.

“During COVID we’ve seen many people leaving the larger capitals cities to move to regional areas and smaller capitals like Hobart, where the lifestyle is more enjoyable” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“For this to continue to occur we need to ensure that people can connect to the online services they need,” he said.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said that these extra projects will help provide improved broadband services and data, delivering fast, affordable and reliable connectivity for people in regional Australia.

“Improved connectivity through this program will allow regional communities and businesses to access essential online services, utilise new business tools and connect with the digital economy,” Minister Fletcher said.

“In addition to funding contributions from the Commonwealth and the applicant, many of these projects include co-investment from other levels of Government, industry and other organisations to ensure communities get more bang for their buck.”

Minister Coulton said that these ‘place-based’ telecommunications infrastructure projects are targeted to provide benefits to local communities.

“The Government has taken a collaborative approach in delivering the RCP,” he said.

“By engaging with the telecommunications industry and regional communities, we can make sure that the projects delivered under the RCP are tailored to the needs of each region and are supported by the community.”

The Federal Government’s total contribution of $117.4 million (GST inclusive) towards Round 1 RCP projects will deliver total new investment of more than $232 million (GST inclusive) together with co-contributions from the funding recipients, state and territory governments and other third parties, including local governments, regional businesses and community development organisations.

In addition, the Government will undertake another round of the RCP later in the year, with funding to be made available through a competitive grants process.

More information about the Program is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

Media contacts:

Minister Coulton: Steph Nicholls | 0417 314 920 | Steph.Nicholls@regional.gov.au

Minister Fletcher: Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au