The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Probe zeroes in on state’s southwest


Regional, rural and remote communitie­s in western Victoria are having their say on telecommun­ications issues through a series of national online consultati­on sessions.

The Federal Government’s 2021 Regional Telecommun­ications Review sessions are in response to COVID-19 border restrictio­ns.

Consultati­on occurred in Victoria’s northwest earlier this month and a southwest session will be on Monday.

Telecommun­ications issues in relatively remote areas of the Wimmera and Western District have been the subject of considerab­le debate.

Victoria’s Wimmera Southern Mallee Regional Partnershi­p has identified improving general regional ‘connectivi­ty’ as a priority.

A review committee is encouragin­g people to join a consultati­on session, and if they cannot, to provide a written submission to an Issues Paper by the end of September.

The Issues Paper, consultati­on dates and details on how to make a submission are available online at

People can lodge written submission­s until Thursday, September 30, 2021. Review committee chair Luke Hartsuyker said the virtual consultati­ons were proving successful, with strong community attendance.

He said the sessions had allowed a five-member Regional Telecommun­ications Independen­t Review Committee to hear first-hand how people were accessing and using telecommun­ications services in regional areas.

Consultati­ons sessions have been occurring across all states.

Mr Hartsuyker said session feedback was critical and would help set the telecommun­ications agenda for many years.

“Local issues can often require local solutions, and we want to hear about those challenges to ensure this review has a significan­t impact on how the government responds,” he said.

“What we want to do – and what the virtual consultati­ons allow us to do – is to ensure we have a wide range of views from regional, rural and remote stakeholde­rs across Australia.”

The committee has heard from people ‘on the ground’ about the importance of telecommun­ications in regional areas.

Mr Hartsuyker said the consultati­on sessions had already revealed many issues that would be included in the committee’s report back to the Federal Government at the end of the year.

“The committee has so far heard from communitie­s about important issues such as mobile and broadband service reliabilit­y and resilience as well as knowing what connectivi­ty options are available,” he said.

“My committee and I will be providing a report card as to the state of play in regional telecommun­ications.

‘We will also be providing recommenda­tions to government as to ways in which services in regional areas can be improved, including the use of new and emerging technologi­es.

“Even if they can’t get to a virtual consultati­on, I would encourage stakeholde­rs to have their say by providing a written submission and encourage others in their community to do so as well.

“It does not need to be long, what we are interested in is the issues that are important to people.”

The committee must report to government before December 31.

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