Mildura Weekly : Friday June 20 Vol 8 No 33
www.milduraweekly.com.au 4 Mildura Weekly – 20/06/14 MILDURA is now Victoria’s largest regional centre without a scheduled NBN rollout. It’s hoped the city’s unenviable status will strengthen the district’s case when the first round of rollouts under the Coalition’s NBN model are announced later this year. Despite Mildura’s isolation, its increasing reliance on broadband technology in the business, educa- tion and health sectors and a strong case put forward ahead of the last rollout, Mildura was left off the list last year. At the time, NBN Co sited engi- neering issues, availability of existing core infrastructure and “instruction received from government” as rea- sons for Mildura being left out. The knock-back was the last op- portunity under the original NBN technology to get high speed inter- net access in the region in the wake of Coalition plans for a more mod- est system in terms of speed, but ca- pable of much greater coverage. Despite the scaled-down perfor- mance of the new NBN, speeds and availability of high speed internet access are still expected to be sig- nificantly improved over the current copper-based technology, which re- mains one of the prominent forms of broadband technology in the dis- trict. Mildura Development Corpora- tion and the NBN 4 Mildura-Wen- tworth Committee is leading the charge once again to see Mildura included in the next rollout, which is expected to be announced by the end of the year. Mr Crewther said faster broad- band access would provide benefits across a wide range of industries and business in Sunraysia. “Firstly it would help business re- tention as well as attracting business- es that require fast internet speeds,” he said. “For example, you might have an IT-based business that doesn’t choose to set up here because we don’t have fast enough internet speeds. “Or it might be a business that already exists here that might want to expand and they need to run mul- tiple servers or need faster internet access to run their business, and they might look elsewhere. “It just makes things so much more efficient for business and means they can improve their pro- ductivity. “It also has outcomes in health and education, such as online health services that aren’t currently avail- able, online lectures that can’t cur- rently run at the required speed, so these areas would particularly benefit from a rollout in this region.” MDC chief executive, Chris Crewther said a recent delegation to Federal Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office, which in- cluded himself, NBN 4 Mildura Wen- tworth Committee chair, Jenny Grigg, and a Mildura Rural City Council representative, was left buoyed the region’s new status as the only cen- tre of its size without a planned NBN rollout would strengthen its case. “One of the things that came out of that meeting was that we could advocate for the Mildura Wentworth region to be considered as part of the new multi-technology mix,” Mr Crewther said this week. Under the Coalition’s NBN plans, the original fibre-to-the-prem- ises technology would be ditched in favour of fibre-to-the-node, which would be significantly cheaper to establish, utilising a several different technologies depending on the area. The next rollout will be the first of the new multi-technology NBN era, which could utilise existing in- frastructure in towns and cities. “They’ve included other technol- ogies in the mix, so they can utilise or buy out existing systems, or oper- ate in conjunction with existing sys- tems to establish minimum internet speeds,” Mr Crewther said. “The advisor to Malcolm Turn- bull suggested that we could pursue the potential of this region being a pilot area for the new multi-technol- ogy mix. “They were also quite impressed with the business case that we pre- sented to them.” Mr Crewther said while the lat- est business case and recent meeting had helped the district’s cause, it was now imperative the city got behind the push. “We’re sending this business case to leaders within our community, in- cluding the Mildura and Wentworth Councils, asking them to write to the Minister’s office, pushing for us to be considered as part of the next NBN rollout and also to be considered as a pilot area,” he said. Mr Crewther said the region’s State and Federal representatives on both sides of the river had also been contacted. A school-based competition was also planned, which aimed to high- light the importance of better inter- net performance for primary and sec- ondary school students. Mr Crewther said if Sunraysia was part of the next NBN rollout it hoped the region would see the technology up and running within three years. Mildura left out in the cold on NBN access • ONLINE: Mildura Development Corporation chief executive Chris Crewther. Sunraysia a region of soft drink sippers... A NEW study has found Sunray- sia residents drink almost twice the amount of soft drink com- pared to the average Victorian, raising concerns about dental health levels in the region. The figures revealed 20 per- cent of Sunraysia residents drink soft drink every day, compared to the State average of just 12 per- cent. There was only one local gov- ernment area in Victoria, Melton, with a higher consumption rate. The study was conducted by Dental Health Services Victoria, which warned of the dangers of excess consumption of sugary foods and drinks. “There are strong links be- tween lifestyle behaviours such as drinking soft drink and increased risk of tooth decay and other den- tal issues,” DHSV chief executive Dr Deborah Cole said. “Many people might not know this, but dental conditions are the most common cause of potentially preventable hospitali- sation in young Victorians under 19 years, with the most common cause being tooth decay in chil- dren,” Dr Cole said. Mildura residents fared better in other areas of the study, which revealed 16 percent of residents were current smokers, equal to the State average, while 57 per- cent of Sunraysia residents don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, compared to 51 percent across Victoria. 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Friday June 13 Vol 8 No 32
Friday June 27 Vol 8 No 34