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Major boost for Tasmanian health and education networks.



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Acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

MEDIA RELEASE

Major boost for Tasmanian health and education networks

The Acting Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Rod Kemp, welcomed $3 million in Commonwealth Government funding announced today by the Prime Minister for improved health and education related telecommunications networks for regional communities across Tasmania (TAS).

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 $4.5 million of in-kind and financial contributions from the project's partners.

Today's announcement means communities throughout the regional Tasmania are set to benefit from more affordable and accessible health and education services-including through high bandwidth connections and improved local telecommunications infrastructure.

The project-known as the Tasmanian Health and Education Communications Initiative-will be managed by a consortium of the Tasmanian State departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Premier and Cabinet, together with the University of Tasmania and the Institute of TAFE Tasmania.

Through shared investment, local leadership and infrastructure creation, this project will deliver high bandwidth online health and education services and integrated telecommunications services to more than 20 regional locations throughout Tasmania.

The project will be piloted at Queenstown and Scottsdale where innovative applications and services such as expanded audio and video conferencing, and video-streaming will be trialed.

More information on the project is provided in the attached fact sheet.

The Tasmanian Health and Education Communications Initiative is one of eight projects to be granted funding as part of the $50 million in NCF funding announced in Perth today 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

172/02 18 July 2002

Tasmania Fact Sheet Tasmanian Health and Education Communications Consortium ($3 million)

This project is being delivered by a consortium comprising the Tasmanian Departments of Education/Health and Human Services/Premier and Cabinet, and the University of Tasmania and the Institute of TAFE Tasmania, with $4.5 million of in-kind and financial contributions to complement the Commonwealth Government's investment of $3 million.

It is focussed on improving the provision of education and health services to regional and rural locations in Tasmania through an increase in the quantity, quality and affordability of the local telecommunications infrastructure.

The project will be piloted in Queenstown and Scottsdale where innovative applications and services such as expanded audio and video conferencing, and video-streaming will be trialed. On completion of the pilot, it is expected these services will be rolled-out in the education and health sectors to more than 20 regional towns across Tasmania.

The consortium proposes to deliver services that are currently available only to metropolitan areas of the State.

The consortium also plans to make the improved infrastructure available to other organisations servicing the target areas. In addition, the Consortium plans to encourage the chosen provider in each location to offer commercial services to the local community using the infrastructure.

Contact: John Parry Manager, IT Infrastructure Services University of Tasmania Ph: 03 6324 3566

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