|16 June 2016
The decision by both major political parties to provide an improved mix of NBN technologies to the West Coast will be a game-changer for the region.
After being listed to receive satellite-only NBN the West Coast Council led a community campaign to push for a rethink by the Government.
“Satellite-only NBN would limit the ability of the region to attract sufficient business investment and also impact on health and education services in the region,” Mayor Phil Vickers said. “The public forum held in March made clear the community and industry concerns and gave our political representatives no option but to reconsider the satellite service.”
Council had maintained that if the Federal and State Governments were able to sit down and discuss options a partnership could be formed allowing use of the State-owned unused fibre optic cable network running from Railton to Queenstown to provide fibre NBN to some West Coast communities.
Following the forum, attended by Federal Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare, Braddon MP Brett Whiteley, industry representatives and a large contingent of West Coast residents, Labor pledged to provide fibre to the premises NBN to Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan.
Following lengthy negotiations, it was announced on the weekend that a re-elected Turnbull Government would provide fibre to the node NBN to Queenstown, Rosebery and Zeehan, with Strahan to receive fixed wireless.
“Council thanks both parties for listening to the West Coast community about NBN and we also appreciate the role of the State Government in providing in-kind support by allowing use of the existing cable,” Mayor Vickers said.
It is believed such an agreement between various levels of government is a first in Australia in relation to provision of NBN services.
With the community vision for the West Coast based around diversification of industry, economic development and connecting our communities to each other and other regions, the outcomes listed in the West Coast’s key strategic document, the West Coast Community Plan 2025, will be a step closer to being achieved with an appropriate mix of NBN technologies available.
Mayor Vickers praised the efforts of all involved in the campaign, “I am proud of the way our community banded together regarding the NBN and for leaders across a variety of industries including mining, tourism, aquaculture and energy to support to stand together in support of the campaign is a real indication that the West Coast is ready fight for our future together,” he said.
West Coast Council looks forward to working with either political party post-election to ensure the NBN service is delivered as promised to the region.
“With the mix of technologies the West Coast will be on a level playing field when it comes to attracting, and retaining, businesses – we have so much to offer and NBN will allow us to showcase the region even more,” Mayor Vickers said.