Council to make submission to Regional Telecommunications Review

Published on 09 September 2021

Telstra Cell On Wheels


Reliability, coverage and cost are being highlighted as key issues facing Central Darling Shire residents’ ability to access vital telecommunications in a submission to be presented to Federal Government’s Regional Telecommunications Review.

The lack of telecommunications resources, coupled with cost and reliability, has been highlighted during the current COVID outbreak.

However, the lack of resources for families in the Shire who have needed to home school their children or access government services has been an ongoing issue for the whole Shire.

Telstra and the nbn’s recent efforts to improve services in Wilcannia have been welcomed by Council, and there is both a need and desire to continue working together to ensure long term sustainability of these improved services.

This needs to be coupled with improved services throughout the whole of the Shire. While the township areas are covered by either 3G or 4G mobile services, that service is lost once people travel outside the town boundaries.

Similarly, residents have access to the nbn SkyMuster satellite services, however reliability, speed and cost have been a major barrier for residents who need quality and affordable internet services.

“Many of our families are faced with a cost based decision to keep their internet, which means they are losing out on basic services which are now all being pushed online,” Central Darling Shire Council Administrator, Bob Stewart, said

“The decision is ‘do I pay the electricity bill and put food on the table or pay the internet bill’.

“The internet bill is always going to come last. This means there is no access to government services, home schooling or vital information they may need for their daily lives.

“Central Darling Shire has always been one of the 20 most socio-economically disadvantaged communities in Australia. Residents shouldn’t have to miss out on basic services other Australians take for granted.”

“Council will continue to push for better telecommunications infrastructure throughout the Shire.

“Improved mobile and internet services cannot just be a stop gap in a crisis.

“Our residents and our children need quality, low cost access to these services all year round, and we look forward to working with Telstra and the nbn to get quality services to as much of our Shire as possible.”

Council’s Regional Telecoms Review Draft Submission is located on Council's website for anyone to review and comment on.

The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review is taking submissions until 30 September 2021. It is being led by the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, a former regional MP and is expected to report by the end of December 2021.