MEDIA RELEASE RE POSTPONED NBN ROLLOUT

HELP NEEDED TO ENSURE BUNDABERG ISN’T M.I.A. ON NBN ROLLOUT

Bundaberg Regional Council is taking the unprecedented step of calling on business operators and residents to lobby the Federal Government to ensure the region is included in the NBN rollout following changes to the latest maps which now exclude Bundaberg and surrounding suburbs.

Economic Development portfolio spokesperson Cr Greg Barnes said, Council launched its ‘Switched On Bundaberg’ program to encourage residents to express their concerns to the Federal Member for Hinkler and Federal Minister for Communications.

“We want to make sure commitments made by the previous Federal Government regarding the NBN rollout are delivered for our region and we need local business owners and residents to help our voice be heard loud and clear,” Cr Barnes said.

“Council has, in absolute good faith, invested significant resources into preparing the region for this rollout, which has previously promised enormous benefits for local businesses and residents with the potential to push Bundaberg back into economic recovery.”

“To say that we’re incredibly disappointed that the latest NBN mapping no longer includes Bundaberg City, Moore Park Beach, Avoca, North Gooburrum, Woodgate and Childers, would be a gross understatement.”

“These locations were previously promised in the NBN’s marketed rollout and Council’s entire Digital Economy Strategy was based and adopted on that promise.  To now see them removed following the change in government can only be seen as a real kick in the guts for our region and especially while we’re still getting back on our feet after the January natural disasters.”

Next Tuesday the true extent of the damage to the regional economy from the disasters will be revealed when a summary of the independently commissioned Economic Impact Assessment Report is tabled at the Bundy 4 Breakfast function at the Brother’s Club. “We implore the Minister to review this document and appreciate just how important the NBN rollout commitment is to this region’s recovery”, Cr. Barnes said.

Enhanced broadband service means more local business opportunities, more export opportunities, more local jobs and better access to medical services via video link. There are so many potential benefits for local residents and businesses which is what makes this outcome so incredibly disappointing.”

To highlight this, Council recently held a forum with leading IT specialists and local businesses which depend largely on the provision of high speed internet access. Their response to the government’s announcement was, like many others throughout the community, one of devastation.

As a result, the ‘Switched On Bundaberg’ campaign has been triggered to ensure that Minister Turnbull and the Member for Hinkler are under no misapprehension regarding the gravity of this decision for our region’s recovery and future.

“It’s not often that we call for this level of community support however we’re hoping that every business and resident will get onboard with Switched On Bundaberg and act as an advocate to get this commitment to our region honoured.”

Cr Barnes said Council had already sent its letter to Federal Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull expressing the concern of Council and would encourage residents to follow suit.

Please write your letter and send it to:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull, MP
Minister for Communications
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

As part of this correspondence we ask as an option that you please CC the following individuals:

Mr Keith Pitt, MP
Federal Member of Parliament for Hinkler
PO Box5555
Bundaberg West QLD 4670

Cr Greg Barnes
Bundaberg Regional Council
Councillor, Division 5 and Economic Development Portfolio spokesperson
PO Box 3130
Bundaberg QLD 4670

For more information or assistance in writing a letter head to www.businessbundaberg.com.au/switched-on-bundaberg.

ENDS

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