WA gets remote emergency broadband project worth $21.2 million

To integrate with health comms system

Remote area emergency and health services are being enhanced through a $A21.28 million broadband development project jointed funded by the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments.

Announced today by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said the Bush Medivac Western Australia project will deliver improved emergency and health services to Australians living in regional and remote areas by providing state-of-art terrestrial and non-terrestrial broadband network infrastructure.

WA Industry and Enterprise Minister, Francis Logan, said the project will use innovative broadband technology applications and devices that will enable the integration of West Australian health and emergency service organisations' communication systems.

"This will enhance the communications and coordination capabilities of all major health and emergency services for day-to-day operations and in preparation for any major incident or disasters," he said.

Through the Clever Network program, the federal government is providing $9.28 million in funding for the project.

The WA Department of Industry and Resources and its consortium partners are contributing a further $12 million.

In addition to broadband, Conroy said innovation is also critical to Australia's economic prosperity.

In an address to the Australian Computer Society (ACS) last month, Conroy said the government recognises the important role of innovation in developing new technology and new applications that will help drive future productivity.

He said an example of this is the $200 million Enterprise Connect network which is aimed at connecting businesses to new ideas and new technologies.

The program includes the establishment of a creative industries innovation centre.

The government has also announced a review to identify barriers to innovation with findings and recommendations to be submitted by July 31, 2008.

Moreover, the government has committed $95 million to the continuation of the Australian Broadband Guarantee for the 2008-2009 financial year.

The government has also promised that its $4.7 billion National Broadband Network will extend into rural and regional areas to deliver a minimum 12 megabits per second to 98 per cent of all Australians.

- with Sandra Rossi

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