May 14, 2022

Residents across Noorat, Maroona and Orford will soon be better connected following successful applications for funding mobile and broadband upgrades under Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program.

Member for Wannon, the Hon Dan Tehan MP welcomed the $1.6 million investment and said, “I am thrilled that the residents, businesses and visitors to Noorat, Maroona and Orford will enjoy the benefits and opportunities that improved digital connectivity brings”.

“I have been working closely with these communities to deliver digital improvements, and this announcement will help keep businesses connected, families can stay in touch, and we can better access, health, education, and online services, on the go”, Mr Tehan said.

“This announcement is a further commitment by the Coalition Government to rural and regional Victoria and will help build stronger local communities”, said Mr Tehan.

Minister for Regional Communications, Bridget McKenzie, said the projects form part of the Coalition Government’s continuing roll-out of the $257 million Regional Connectivity Program (RCP).

The more than $1.6 million in Coalition Government funding will be invested across to deploy three new macro mobile sites in Orford, Maroona and Noorat.

The Coalition Government funded more than 130 projects in regional Australia in Round 1 of the program, including six in Wannon and these Round 2 projects will now build upon the government’s past investments.

“These Round 2 projects will build upon the government’s past investment in the Mobile Blackspot Program, which has funded 35 Mobile Black Spot Program projects across Wannon to date,” Minister McKenzie said.

“I’m very pleased that residents and businesses across regional and rural Victoria will soon be able to enjoy the benefits and opportunities that this project will bring in terms of digital connectivity.

“Digital connectivity is an essential part of how we work, learn, stay safe and remain in contact with loved ones. The Coalition will continue to invest in this critical infrastructure as part of our plan for a strong economy and stronger future.

“Our government has continued to take a collaborative approach with the telecommunications industry and regional and remote communities to make sure that the funded projects are tailored to the needs of each region and are supported by the community. This approach has resulted in an opportunity to create real change in the regions.

“By contrast, Labor has not funded a single mobile tower in regional Australia, in fact they recently announced that an Albanese-led government will cut $155 million from the budget for regional communications making it harder for rural Australians to access healthcare and education virtually.”

Regional Connectivity Program Round 2 Projects in Victoria:
Orford - Wannon ($400,950)
This project will deploy a new Telstra macro cell site and required fibre backhaul in Orford. This solution will provide new and improved coverage to the Orford area and along the Princes Highway.

Maroona - Wannon ($548,700)
The project will deploy a new Telstra macro mobile site, providing new and improved handheld coverage to Maroona and surrounding area.

Noorat - Wannon ($708,300)
The project will deploy a new Telstra macro cell mobile site, providing improved handheld coverage to the Noorat area.

Mobile Blackspot Program

We have funded 35 new base stations in Wannon under the Mobile Black Spot Program to date, with 28 of these projects already completed.

Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND)

In Wannon 14 base stations have received funding under the Mobile Network Hardening Program (MNHP) to receive at least 12 hours back-up power, 13 of which are operational, and a further 13 projects have been committed to under Stage 2.

Under the STAND package, the Coalition Government is upgrading telecommunications connectivity at fire service depots and evacuation centres across Australia to support their essential work. This involves the installation of NBN Co. Sky Muster satellites at rural and country fire service depots and designated evacuation centres. There are 42 locations across Wannon that received funding, 40 of which are currently operational.

Only the Coalition will continue to deliver for Wannon as part of our plan to build a strong economy and a stronger future.

More information about the Regional Connectivity Program is available at: http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/rcp

Media contact | Cate Mercer-Grant 0408 564 232