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Reliable connectivity

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The district is in urgent need of a robust and reliable telecommunications infrastructure that can support economic growth, create an inclusive community, and help safely manage emergencies.

For many years, many stakeholders in the region have called for an improved digital infrastructure that reduces blackspot areas, boosts internet access, and connects the public to essential services.

A regional infrastructure gap analysis has revealed that the Naracoorte-Lucindale District and towns like Tatiara and Kingston averaged an Australian Digital Inclusion Index of 63.9, which is below the national average of 71.1 and the South Australian average of 69.1.

The report highlighted that the growth of the agriculture sector, education, and skills development, and managing community emergencies were being affected by poor connectivity.

This newspaper [Naracoorte Community News] has questioned the federal government, the state government, and other relevant stakeholders on what it intends to do and how soon to fix the digital divide affecting the region.

South Australian Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Vincent Tarzia told The [Naracoorte Community] News that it was high time the government moved its focus to people living in regional towns and not just those living in Adelaide.

“The government needs to work hand-in-glove with private telecommunication providers to reduce connectivity challenges,” Mr Tarzia said.

“It simply isn’t good enough that entire townships are experiencing these connection difficulties, and it’s effecting the quality of life for the people of the South East.

“Bad connectivity means reduced economic opportunity, reduced connection to loved ones, and reduced access to services, among many other things,” the shadow minister said.

He called on the government to meet with private telecommunication providers to workshop a solution that will benefit all parties.

“Whether that be the government putting money forward to co-fund new information technology infrastructure or simply the government approving private investment, the bottom line is that more needs to be done to reduce the blackspots and instability of digital connectivity in the South East.

“The government should approach this matter with the urgency that it deserves.

“Digital communication is a vital facet of South Australia’s infrastructure network, and with there being deficits in connectivity for entire townships, solutions must be forward sooner rather than later.”

Mr Tarzia said that with the Labor government making a deficit balloon in this year’s budget, there must be scope and room for further digital communication infrastructure investment in next year’s state budget.

“It would also be encouraging to see the Commonwealth Government make digital communication infrastructure an absolute priority and to work collaboratively with the state government to reduce communication blackspots not just in the South East but across all regions in our state that are being left behind.

“The South East is home to one of the state’s largest agricultural regions, and there is an abundance of opportunity provided by strong digital connectivity in this space.”

Naracoorte Community News 11 October 2023

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

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For all the news from Naracoorte Community News, go to https://www.naracoortenews.com/