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Major investment for Western Australian health and education networks.



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Acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

MEDIA RELEASE

Major investment for Western Australian health and education networks

The Acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Rod Kemp, welcomed $8 million in Commonwealth Government funding announced in Perth today by the Prime Minister for improved health and education related telecommunications networks in regional communities across Western Australia (WA).

The funding is being provided through the National Communications Fund (NCF)-a key element of the Federal Government's response to the Telecommunications Service Inquiry. The Federal Government's investment will be supplemented by more than $8 million of in-kind and financial contributions from the project's partners.

Today's announcement means communities throughout regional WA are set to benefit from more affordable and accessible health and education services-through upgrading telecommunications infrastructure and boosting bandwidth.

The project-'Network WA'-will be rolled-out at sites to be selected from the Gascoyne, Goldfields-Esperance, Great Southern, Kimberley, Midwest, Peel, Pilbara, South West and Wheatbelt regions. The project will be managed by the consortium of the Western Australian State Government Departments of Industry and Technology, Education, Health, and Training, and the University sector.

This project has the potential to improve a range of health and education services making them more affordable, more efficient and of higher quality. The projects will focus on delivering telehealth and e-learning to regional communities in WA. More information on the project is provided in the attached fact sheet.

Network WA is one of eight projects to be granted funding as part of the $50 million in NCF funding announced by the Prime Minister. The NCF plays an important role in bridging service and infrastructure gaps in regional Australia, and demonstrates the Government's commitment to improving access to telecommunications services for all Australians-no matter where they live.

The Federal Government has allocated more than $1 billion to improve communications and IT services around Australia through initiatives such as the highly successful Networking the Nation program that has funded over 775 projects across regional Australia worth close to $400 million.

 

Other measures include: mobile coverage for towns with population over 500; $50.5 million for the Regional Mobile Phones Program to provide coverage in towns under 500 and along Australia's secondary highways; funding to improve internet speeds under the Internet Assistance Program; reduced service connection times and earlier availability of interim services; $8.3 million to improve indigenous telecommunications services; and enhanced quality of service regulations through the Customer Service Guarantee and the new Network Reliability Framework.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website: www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

170/02 18 July 2002

Western Australia Fact Sheet Network WA-$8 million

Network WA is sponsored by a consortium of the Western Australian Departments of Industry and Technology/Education/Health/Training, and the University sector.

The Western Australian Government will provide cash and in-kind contributions of more than $8 million over the life of the project to complement the Commonwealth Government's $8 million funding.

The project aims to significantly improve health and education services in regional Western Australia by upgrading telecommunications infrastructure and significantly increasing bandwidth. Improved services will be provided to sites to be selected from the Gascoyne, Goldfields-Esperance, Great Southern, Kimberley, Midwest, Peel, Pilbara, South West and Wheatbelt regions.

This project has the potential to improve a range of health and education services making them more affordable, more efficient and of higher quality for communities throughout regional Western Australia. This includes applications in telehealth such as patient teleconsultations, online patient records and improved support for clinicians through professional development opportunities and information support (such as specialist consultation and medical telemetry).

In terms of education applications, this project may include the implementation of e-learning initiatives such as delivering student education content and curriculum management, e-business services such as online payments of excursion fees, and access to online performance reporting for parents.

This project also has the potential to deliver innovative online applications including real-time interactive training, streamlining administrative processes-such as online enrolments-and expanding access to tertiary education.

Contact: Chris Avent Public Affairs Manager WA Department of Industry and Technology Ph: 08 9222 5828

Click here for further information about the National Communications Fund

 

Note: all funding allocations detailed in the attachment are subject to negotiation of a satisfactory funding agreement with each applicant