The NSW Government has pledged to invest ‘at least’ $50 million in improvements to phone and data connectivity in rural and regional areas of the state.
The $50m+ Connecting Country Communities fund was announced by Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro, this week.
“For people living in regional and remote NSW, poor mobile and slow internet coverage are two of the biggest issues they face on a daily basis,” Barilaro said in a statement.
“Whether you need to stay in touch with your family or run a business, if your internet isn’t fast or affordable, or your phone coverage isn’t up to speed it is simply crippling,” he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Deputy Premier and Southern NSW, Bronnie Taylor said the fund reflects the NSW Government’s commitment to boosting mobile and internet coverage in the bush.
“There is no other state in the country that is investing its own money separately from the Federal Government in tackling this issue. This is the first fund of its kind in Australia,” Ms Taylor said.
“Put simply this is a game-changer for the people of regional NSW,” she said.
NSW Nationals candidate for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said for too long people living in isolated communities in regional NSW have been treated like second-class citizens.
“Only last week I put the call out for people to let me know their coverage concerns, and the response I received proved just how big this issue is,” Ms Cooke said.
“There is no doubt that coverage in regional areas, particularly across the electorate of Cootamundra, is not good enough.
“It is pleasing to see the NSW Government takes this issue seriously and is prepared to spend big money fixing it,” she said.