Local MP Mia Davies has welcomed the launch of a new telecommunications network in the eastern Wheatbelt that will provide faster internet for connected users.
The project, a collaboration between NEWROC and regional WA-based internet provider CRISP Wireless, will build up to 13 telecommunications towers across Koorda, Mt Marshall, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Trayning, Wyalkatchem and Merredin.
Ms Davies said the network signalled a new era of connectivity in WA with the project offering “superfast” internet to users and vastly improved data speeds.
“This is a fantastic home grown initiative that has leveraged state and federal funding to build a new style of internet service provision that existing providers don’t offer,” she said.
“Access to reliable and affordable mobile and internet services would be one of the top priorities for the region, identified by business, local Government, service providers and residents.
“Despite significant investment from the previous State Government into mobile phone towers to reduce black spots and improve services, we were falling behind in the connectivity stakes.”
She said the scale and sparse population of the Wheatbelt often meant services people in Perth took for granted were far more complex to deliver in the region.
Following an $11,000 Royalties for Regions Community Chest Fund grant from the Wheatbelt Development Commission in 2014-15, NEWROC secured a $700,000 federal government grant through the Building Better Regions program.
An investment of $126,000 from all the shires involved, another $100,000 from NEWROC along with $2000 from Bendigo Bank helped get the project off the ground.
Ms Davies said the project was an outstanding example of regional collaboration and a testament to the vision of the Shire’s to facilitate growth and support industry and residents in their area.
“Through a combination of Royalties for Regions, Federal Government investment and significant local financial support a project that can unlock the potential for existing businesses, encourage new business and support education, health and social outcomes have been delivered,” she said.
“It’s a shame these opportunities will be harder to come by for proponents of regional development as WA Labor raids Royalties for Regions to fund pet projects in the city.
“So far we’ve seen Labor slash funding from CRCs, cut regional education and dispose of community-building programs such as the Community Chest Fund and Regional Grants Scheme.
“The McGowan Government has paid lip-service only to regional development, and they’ve abandoned the Central Wheatbelt since coming to Government.”