Kaniva to experience improved digital connectivity after funding announcement

THRILLED: Federal Member for Mallee Anne Webster said she was thrilled to announce last week that her electorate would benefit greatly from federal government funding.
THRILLED: Federal Member for Mallee Anne Webster said she was thrilled to announce last week that her electorate would benefit greatly from federal government funding.

Kaniva is set to have increased digital connectivity in the near future, with federal government funding set to benefit the Mallee electorate.

The $90 million Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) will deliver 81 place-based solutions to digital connectivity issues in the regions through a range of mobile and broadband services.

Federal Member for Mallee Anne Webster said she was thrilled to announce last week that her electorate would benefit greatly from federal government funding.

"I'm thrilled that residents and businesses in in these five regions across the Wimmera and Mallee will enjoy the benefits and opportunities that improved digital connectivity brings," Dr Webster said.

"This project will provide people in those communities with access to improved broadband services and data, delivering fast, affordable and reliable connectivity.

"This will help keep our businesses connected, our families to stay in touch and mean communities can better access health, education and online services."

People living and working in Hopetoun, Kaniva, Lascelles, Broughton and parts of the Swan Hill can now look forward to new and improved telecommunications services thanks to the program.

"Connectivity for Mallee is one of my priorities. What this means is that people in Swan Hill, Kaniva, Broughton, Lascelles and Hopetoun will all have better connectivity as this program is rolled out," Dr Webster said.

For Kaniva residents, the funding will go towards the upgrade of NBN access technology from Sky Muster to fibre to the premises, through a consortium between the West Wimmera Shire Council and NBN Co.

The proposed solution will support all 495 brownfield premises in Kaniva including hospitals, primary and high schools, post office, Kaniva College, police, fire and emergency services, residents and businesses.

Victorians know how important it is to stay connected, especially after experiencing harsh lockdowns last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As this last year has shown us, connectivity is everything for work, for health, to connect us with loved ones, to be able to do education, to be able to link us across the world," Dr Webster said.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said that the program is part of the government's ongoing commitment to bring the digital economy to the regions.

"The Regional Connectivity Program is providing targeted upgrades to connectivity in regional areas that need it the most, ensuring that more Australians can access high-speed, reliable broadband and mobile services," Minister Fletcher said.

Federal Regional Communications Minister Mark Coulton said the government is listening to the needs of communities and has used the program to deliver place-based solutions that solve rural connectivity issues.

"The government has taken a collaborative approach in delivering the RCP and has engaged with the telecommunications industry and regional communities to make sure the funded projects are tailored to the needs and priorities of each region and are supported by the local community," Minister Coulton said.

The government is contributing $90.3m to the RCP, generating total new investment of more than $180m through co-contributions from funding recipients, state and territory governments and other third parties.

The program is a key component of the government's response to the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review.

Successful projects under the program will begin in the coming weeks with projects expected to be completed by June 2022. More detail on individual projects will be announced over coming weeks.