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Local Government to benefit from the NBN

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Senator the Hon. Stephen Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity Search

Local Government to benefit from the NBN

Improved local government services will result from a $17.1 million program announced today by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Addressing the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra, Senator Conroy said the Digital Local Government program would help local councils take full advantage of the National Broadband Network (NBN) through the development and upgrade of innovative online service delivery to homes and businesses.

"The Digital Local Government program is a key component of the National Digital Economy Strategy which was unveiled last month, and builds on the $23.8m Digital Communities and $12.4m Digital Enterprise programs," Senator Conroy said.

"The Government’s National Digital Economy Strategy set a goal that by 2020, four out of five Australians will choose to engage with the government through the internet or by other types of online service.

"The program aims to develop solutions that can be adopted by other councils and rolled out across the country as the NBN rolls out, leading to a step change in the quality, availability and speed of local government services."

The Gillard Government will provide $17.1 million to assist local government organisations in the 40 communities to first benefit from the National Broadband Network (NBN) with the three year program providing grants of up to $375 000 (excluding GST) to eligible local governments.

Senator Conroy said grants will initially be available for the eight councils in the NBN first release sites in Tasmania and mainland Australia. These are:

• Moreland City Council (Victoria); • Townsville City Council (Queensland); • Kiama Municipal and Armidale Dumaresq Councils (New South Wales); • City of Onkaparinga (South Australia); and, • Circular Head, Dorset and Sorell Councils (Tasmania).

Senator Conroy said local governments can apply individually but encouraged them to partner with private sector vendors and/or form partnerships with other eligible local governments.

"Industry has an important role to play in working with local governments to develop innovative applications made possible by the NBN - ultimately enhancing the quality, accessibility and responsiveness of local government services," Senator Conroy said.

The Digital Local Government program is part of the Gillard Government’s National Digital Economy Strategy that aims to ensure Australia is one of the world’s leading digital economies by 2020.

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Date: 22 June 2011 Contact: Lyall Johnson 0408 258 457