Thursday 14 June 2007
Wake Up Labor! - Australia’s ‘Night Shift’ digital economy is already here and we’re leading the world
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Senator Coonan today said the Labor Party was ‘in the dark’ on Australia’s existing world-class ‘night shift’ digital economy.
“Lindsay Tanner and the Labor Party are putting up yet another ‘plan’, when this Government has been doing the job of rolling out new and innovative services digital ‘night shift’ services since 2004,” Senator Coonan said.
“Through programs such as the Government’s $113 million Clever Networks program and the $23.7 million Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund (CCIF), we are already supporting projects which deliver world class services to Australians regardless of where they live.
“And it’s thanks to these programs that the health sector is already using broadband to provide 24/7 support for doctors and other health professionals.
“Radiographic images, transferred using broadband connections, can be viewed by radiologists located in Australia and overseas.
“I recently visited one facility where an Australian company is using Australian qualifiedradiologists in Israel to support the North Coast Area Health Service ensuring that when a patient wakes up, the diagnosis is already waiting and critically, treatment can start without delay.
“Also funded under the Government’s Clever Networks program, I also recently launched a new broadband service that will enable emergency patients in Broken Hill to be assessed by a medical expert in Bathurst using remotely controlled cameras and two-way audio connections,” Senator Coonan said.
“In 2005, the Government funded the deployment of ground breaking technology for Breast Screen Victoria involving the mobile wireless broadband network for use by breast screen vans and other users in regional Victoria.
“This sort of innovation has vastly improved services to women and better utilised scarce radiologist resources using digital images and broadband with key funding from the Howard Government."
Senator Coonan said that the health sector was not the only industry leading the world in the innovative use of broadband.
“The Howard Government has also built a Broadband Post Production network through the Centre for Networking Technologies in the Information Economy (CeNTIE) – linking up Australia’s leading movie production houses and enabling them to compete globally,” Senator Coonan said.
“Through the CeNTIE project, post production film companies (including Animal Logic, Rising Sun Pictures, Atlab and Omnilab) have had access to a high capacity 10 Gbps broadband network enabling them to collaborate with each other (NB 1 gigabit = 1000 megabits).
CeNTIE’s network has provided multi-site interconnectivity using high bandwidth fibre optic networking and enabled digital content manipulation and editing workflows.
“Post production digital and visual effects work is transferred at the end of an US working day to skilled Australian service providers. These providers then action the work and return it so it is there, ready and waiting, when the US staff begin their work day.
“Our film industry professionals are quite simply world class, and broadband is a key enabler that has enabled them to live in Australia but work on a world stage.
“The concept of Australia as a ‘night shift’ digital economy is alive and well in the Australian Film Industry and the network funded by this Government has been used by recent Academy Awards winners such as Rising Sun Pictures and Animal Logic.
“Rising Sun Pictures, which is Adelaide and Sydney based, used this approach to support work on the film, Charlotte’s Web.
“Australia’s international film standing is proof positive that our digital industry is well and truly holding its own in the competitive global film industry with the enabling support of Government funded broadband technology.
“So I say to the Australian public – don’t be fooled by Labor’s plans for tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is too late.
“The Howard Government is about real outcomes, not vague ‘plans’.
“Our projects are real, rolling out, fully costed and already delivering benefits concrete results to Australians, another example of the human dividend made possible by the Howard Government’s strong economic leadership.”
The following is a list of innovative broadband projects funded by the Australian Government.
$113 million Clever Networks Program
Round 1 - 17 April 2007 (16 successful projects, 5 announced at 14 June 2007)
- $1.4 million to Scope Connect to help people with disabilities in Victoria to receive remote advice or assessment via two-way audio and video from psychological therapists located in regional centres in Victoria.
- $4 million provided for two projects in regional NSW to provide broadband between public hospitals and health facilities to share medical records and conduct remote assessments via two-way audio and video. Radiographic images, transferred using broadband connections, can be viewed by radiologists located in Australia and overseas.
- $1.1 million for TAFE SA Regional Institute’s Clever Training project to use broadband technology to provide online lectures at homes and workplaces to break down the barrier of distance that limits access to technical education.
- $2.3 million to the South Australian Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure for their South Australia High Speed Broadband Infrastructure Project. This project will enable high speed broadband connections from state government agencies in Adelaide to those in Berri, Murray Bridge and Port Pirie through a high speed broadband network allowing communities to have faster access to government services.
$23.7 million Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund (CCIF)
Round 1 - 20 April 2004
- $1.75 million for a fibre optic cable backbone running from the Charles Darwin University campus in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, through the MacDonnell Ranges to a number of institutions including the Desert Knowledge Precinct.
- $2 million for a broadband infrastructure project for 12 communities in the remote Ngaanyatjarra Lands of Western Australia.
- $629,000 for a microwave broadband backbone along the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia, with 'tails' to Maitland, Minlaton, Warooka and Yorketown.
- $2 million for a 'last mile' infrastructure project that will bring broadband to 36 centres in Far North Queensland.
- $4 million to extend a fibre backbone from Parkes to Lithgow via Orange. The total cost of both stages will be almost $11 million. The backbone will support education, health and other government services, and also underpins the NSW state government strategy for deploying competitive telecommunications infrastructure throughout major regional centres.
- $2 million to building a broadband WAN (Wide Area Network) for its activities in 33 communities in Victoria 's Loddon Mallee region. That will occur by providing SHDSL (Single Pair High-speed Digital Subscriber Line) and/or ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) coverage to those communities.
- $1.5 million to complete the Tasmanian high-bandwidth fibre optic backbone and connect major regional centres of Tasmania - Launceston, Devonport and Burnie - into the state-owned fibre optic backbone, and (2) connect that backbone to Hobart.
Round 2 - 6 April 2005
- $2 million for a fibre and wireless deployment in Port Lincoln combined with wireless backhaul to Port Augusta in South Australia.
- $2 million for a broadband solution for 5,000 people from Wadeye, Palumpa, Peppimenarti and Daly Rivers in the remote north west communities of the Northern Territory.
- $920,000 for a mobile wireless broadband network which allows the transfer of digital files from the mobile screening van to the assessment centres and link to the client information management system. The mobile service connects to the 3G wireless network in 16 Victorian towns including Wangaratta, Yarrawonga, Echuca, Swan Hill, Ballarat and Corryong.
- $1.3 million to deploy broadband solutions to the Kimberley region of far north Western Australia including regions around the towns of Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham.
- $750,000 to deploy a fibre ring in eastern Newcastle linking various education, health and local government facilities and a fibre backbone from Newcastle linking hospitals in the Lower Hunter towns of Maitland, Kurri Kurri and Cessnock.
- $1.4 million to provide a satellite network extension for an existing Interactive Distance Learning solution to 200 isolated homes, 211 remote schools and 15 rural Indigenous communities including Menindee, Ivanhoe, Peak Hill, Walgett and Collarenebri. A core hub will be established at NSW TAFE in Tamworth with a remote lesson delivery point at Dubbo.
Media Contact: Fiona Telford 0439 003 191