31 August 2006
$113 million Clever Networks-call for funding proposals
In a speech to the Service Providers’ Industry Association’s (SPAN) annual dinner the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan called for project proposals for the Australian Government’s $113 million Clever Networks program.
"Clever Networks will support sectors such as health, education, community and emergency services to use advanced broadband technologies to enhance the delivery of key Government services in rural, regional and remote Australia," Senator Coonan said.
"Clever Networks is a key element of my vision to drive next generation broadband capability to underpin Australia’s social and economic future – it is an essential part of making Australia a world leader in the effective use of broadband".
"I am releasing the guidelines for the program and can announce that applications for the first round of grants will close on 28 November 2006".
"As with Clever Networks’ predecessor – the Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund - this significant investment will leverage additional investment from State and Territory Governments as well as the private sector".
"A consortium approach is being encouraged with Clever Networks to support partnerships and collaborations to deliver projects of sufficient scale and scope to build on our earlier successes".
"This will help us use technology to bridge the vast distances and meet the challenges of connecting all of us irrespective of where we live. I look forward to receiving many proposals for innovative investments that will make a real difference."
Some examples of innovative services that could be progressed through Clever Networks include:
- assisting school students to access multimedia learning tools;
- providing applications to enable rural hospitals to access advice in an emergency; or
- enabling emergency services to obtain current weather forecasts during a bushfire.
"Encouraging these types of services will encourage economic growth, increase productivity, foster innovation and promote quality of life in rural and regional Australia," Senator Coonan said.
"I encourage interested parties to consider working together to take advantage of this opportunity and contribute to making a real difference to broadband service delivery in our regional, rural and remote areas."
A wide range of stakeholders, including State, Territory and Local Governments, telecommunications carriers, not-for-profit organisations and essential services providers, such as emergency services, are expected to be involved in Clever Networks.
The Australian Government funding will be at least matched by investment from other levels of government, the private sector and local communities.
Clever Networks is part of the Australian Government’s $1.1 billion Connect Australia package.
Clever Networks program guidelines and details on how to submit a proposal are available from www.dcita.gov.au/clevernetworks