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Torres Strait Digital Expansion Project adds $7.32M to telecommunications infrastructure

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Two men flank two women as all walk shoulder to shoulder on old asphalt. In the background is a vehicle and a building.
(L-R) Napau Pedro Stephen, AM, Chairperson, TSRA, with Rachael Cliffe, Area General Manager for North Queensland, Telstra, the Hon. Sharon Fentiman, Minister for Employment and Small Business and the Minister for Training and Skills Development and Government Champion for the Torres Straits and Mayor Fred Gela, Torres Strait Island Regional Council.
30 Oct 2019

Media Release - Torres Strait Regional Authority

The Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) continues its work with Telstra and all levels of government to expand telecommunications infrastructure in the Torres Strait region.

In June 2018, the TSRA and Telstra finalised the first phase of a multimillion-dollar telecommunications infrastructure project known as the Torres Strait Digital Foundation Project.

The second phase, known as the Torres Strait Digital Expansion Project, is valued at $7.32 million and will focus on upgrading 4G Base stations in the Top Western islands of the Torres Strait, where biosecurity risks are great due to the close proximity to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

A long-term commitment by the TSRA, Telstra, the Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture and the Queensland Government, the expansion project is capable of delivering the technology and innovation needed, to protect our borders and multiple social, economic, educational, health and community safety outcomes for communities across the region.

Telstra Regional General Manager Rachel Cliffe said Telstra was proud to partner with the Queensland Government, TSRA and the Department of Agriculture to provide greater connectivity to customers in the Torres Strait.

“Telstra takes its responsibility to bridge the digital divide between the city and remote Australian communities very seriously, which is why we’ve already delivered a number of projects in the Torres Strait to enable customers to access faster fixed line broadband, make mobile calls and access fast wireless data,” Ms Cliffe said.

“This investment is all about digital inclusion and ensuring that no matter where you live in Queensland, you can enjoy the endless opportunities that come from being online.

“We look forward to working with all sectors of the community in the future, to drive greater digital inclusion for all our customers in Far North Queensland and right across this great state.”

TSRA Chairperson, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM, said the expansion project is vital for the Torres Strait to improve fixed and mobile coverage and to protect us from border and biosecurity risks to the region.

“The partnership with Telstra, the State and Federal governments is providing much needed services for our communities,” Mr Stephen said.

“We look forward to seeing the outcomes as theTorres Strait Digital Expansion Projectdelivers improved telecommunications infrastructure for the people and protection of the Torres Strait.

“It is also an important upgrade for our business community, education and health services who will benefit from the improved connectivity.”

The TSRA will continue to work with Telstra to ensure that telecommunications infrastructure in the Torres Strait region is capable of delivering the technology and innovation needed for border protection, biosecurity management and the social, economic, educational, health and community safety outcomes for the region.

Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Lyn O’Connell, agreed on the importance of the Torres Strait Digital Expansion Project to improved biosecurity measures in northern Australia.

“The Torres Strait is vulnerable to a range of exotic pests, weeds and diseases that could arrive from countries to our north and the Top Western Islands are at the front line of Australia’s biosecurity effort,” Ms O’Connell said.

“Improved telecommunications infrastructure radically increases opportunities for real time community reporting of risks and increases capacity to manage threats to our pristine environment, our agricultural production sectors and cultural practices.”

Providing this level of connectivity in the top western island cluster will also enable the TSRA Rangers to harness the full functionality of newly developed departmental systems to provide and effective biosecurity barrier to manage the risk to the region of the introduction and spread of pests and diseases.

Find out more

Visit the TSRA website to view the original media release.

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