Rural communities fear ‘data drought’ despite launch of NBN satellite Sky Muster

ABC News

Frustrated rural internet customers fear it could be 18 months before their substandard services are improved by the National Broadband Network (NBN Co) satellite Sky Muster.

The new half-a-billion-dollar satellite was launched this week, but due to months of testing will not be commercially available until mid-2016. Central Queensland farmer Kristy Sparrow said the bush cannot wait that long. Ms Sparrow has called on NBN Co to do more to improve speeds and lift data limits for those struggling with the congested interim satellite service (ISS), which Sky Muster will replace.

To address the congestion on the oversold system NBN Co introduced a fair use policy at the start of the year. All ISS users had their data plans cut.

Megan Munchenberg from Gregory Downs station in far north Queensland has seen the impact on her two children, who study by school of the air.

Alex Appleton doing distance education from schoolroom on Islay Plains Station, Alpha Queensland.

Alex Appleton doing distance education from schoolroom on Islay Plains Station, Alpha Queensland.

In March the station schoolroom’s 100 gigabyte plan was halved to 50 gigabytes, then three months later reduced to 45 gigabytes.

“Each child by standard has been recommended that they need 20 gigabytes month each. Currently we have 20 gigabytes for five children,” she said.

Despite rationing, the schoolroom cannot make it through the month, and their internet is “shaped”, or drastically slowed. “It’s pretty much just turn the computer off and walk away because the ability to do anything is impossible,” Ms Munchenberg said.

NBN Co’s general manager for fixed wireless and satellite, Gavin Williams, said he does not like to hear stories of hardship caused by the ISS.

“It’s incredibly humbling when you hear the real world impacts of individuals in the bush just trying to do things that people in the city just take for granted,” he said.

“When you can’t do a banking transaction because it times out, that a kid has to get up at 5:00am to do a lesson, they’re heartbreaking stories.”

Ms Sparrow said there is an information drought about the new long-term satellite service (LSS) and called on NBN Co to provide more information.

“How much are these families going to be able to access? What data limits? What costs? How long is it going to take to service every family?” she said.

“It’s a digital world and there’s a digital divide. The interim satellite at least deserves to be fixed until then.”

Read more.

La Trobe University confirmed as Gold Sponsorship for Australian Regional Development Conference

The Australian Regional Development Conference is pleased to announce La Trobe University has confirmed a Gold Sponsorship for the event, being held 26– 27 August 2015 at the Commercial Club Albury.

La Trobe UniversityLa Trobe University is at the forefront of regional development. We are regional Victoria’s largest higher education provider. We are committed to funding research and educating people to make positive changes to society. As such, Excellence in Research for Australia has ranked us at or above world standard for our contribution across 38 disciplines.

La Trobe University

We address crucial questions for the future every day. As gold sponsors, we look forward to joining in the Australian Regional Development Conference conversation on the issues and opportunities facing regional Australia.

About the Australian Regional Development Conference:

The conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

The Conference theme Redefining the Future of Regional Australia will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Stream Topics: 

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the full Australian Regional Development Conference Program, please click here.

Dr Caroline Perkins to present on funding for regional universities at the Australian Regional Development Conference

Dr Caroline Perkins, Executive Director of Regional Universities Network will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Dr Caroline Perkins

Dr Caroline Perkins

Speaker Introduction: Dr Caroline Perkins is a geologist by training and has a B.Sc. (Hons) from the University of Melbourne, and a Ph.D in geology from the University of New England. She has worked as an exploration geologist in Australia and Fiji, and undertook post-doctoral research in geology at the Australian National University. She has 15 years’ experience as a senior public servant working for the Australian Federal Government in higher education, research, science and radioactive waste management policy and programs.

In February 2012 she was appointed as the first Executive Director of the Regional Universities Network, a group of six universities with their headquarters in regional Australia, outside capital cities. Since then she has worked to foster advocacy, facilitate collaboration, and enhance the contribution of the member universities to regional development.

Presentation Title: Regional universities – should they be funded by the regional development portfolio?

Overview: Regional universities play a critical role as one of the largest and most visible physical, intellectual, cultural and sporting assets in their regions. Their teaching and learning activities, research and innovation and service functions contribute to: human capital development; regional governance and planning; community development; health and ageing; arts, culture and sport; environmental sustainability; and industry and business development. They are looked to for leadership in stimulating positive change, and their staff and students play active and visible roles in their communities.

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.

Rural Poverty in Australia is worse in remote regions

 

Rural poverty in Australia is worse in remote regions, a report from National Rural Health Alliance and the Australian Council of Social Service found those living in the most remote locations were the worst off.

The report, A Snapshot of Poverty in Rural and Regional Australia, revealed that people living outside major cities had lower levels of education, higher unemployment, poorer physical and mental health and less access to medical care.

Nearly one in three people live outside our major cities – in rural, regional and remote areas across Australia

Allowing for the costs of housing, poverty is slightly worse in rural, regional and remote areas (13.1 per cent ‘outside capital cities’) than in capital cities (12.6 per cent). When housing costs (which are higher in capital cities) are not taken into account, that divide becomes starker.

Poverty in rural and regional Australia has a particular set of characteristics, including:  generally lower incomes of those living in these regions; reduced access to services such as health, education and transport; declining employment opportunities; and  distance and isolation.

The report is available on the National Rural Health Alliance  website

Regional Development Australia: The Conference will feature discussions on Regional Health and Social Development. It will be held in Albury NSW on the 15 – 16 October 2014.

Call for papers

Authors or organisations interested in submitting a paper or presenting a workshop are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the aims, contents and conclusions of their paper or presentation; or about their intended role in a workshop.

All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Program Committee. Presentations will be selected to provide a program that offers a comprehensive and diverse treatment of issues related to the conference theme.

Australian Regional Development Conference

RDA Conference15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury Secretariat: (T) 61 7 5502 2068 (F) 07 5527 3298 Email: secretariat@regionaldevelopment.org.au URL: www.regionaldevelopment.org.au

 

 

Health, education and regional development top priority for Northern NSW

HEALTH, education and regional development should be the top three priorities of the new Federal Government, say respondents to a recent survey on The Northern Star’s website. Lismore Northern Star

The unscientific poll revealed a broadly pessimistic attitude about the future of the region under the new Coalition Government.

Half the respondents indicated they had voted for Labor in the recent election while almost 70% believed Tony Abbott was not an effective leader.

Six out of 10 people believed regional and rural areas would now be worse off, with 41% “very negative” about Australia’s future under the Coalition.

The environment would fare worse, said 67%, as too would health and education, said more than half.

Elsewhere in Northern NSW the picture was much the same, with 57% believing the regions would suffer under the Coalition, compared to just 27% who expected things to improve.

Almost half the online poll’s respondents were over 55 with just 13% under the age of 35. Almost 50% were in a full-time job or self-employed.

Hamish Broome,  20th Sep 2013,  Read More

Health, education and regional development will also be a top priority at the Australian Regional Development Conference, 15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury.

The conference theme is “Where to from here?” and will cover the broad areas of regional development, economic, planning, environment and community.

The conference will focus on the following themes: Environment/Sustainability; Planning/Building; Community Development; Economic Development; Infrastructure; Employment/Education; and Health Services.

Would you like to speak at the conference? Authors or organisations interested in submitting a paper or presenting a workshop are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the aims, contents and conclusions of their paper or presentation; or about their intended role in a workshop.

All proposals will be reviewed by the Conference Program Committee. Presentations will be selected to provide a program that offers a comprehensive and diverse treatment of issues related to the conference theme. Authors will be notified by e-mail of the outcome of their abstract submission.

To submit an Abstract or Sponsor this conference please click on this link conference website or go to http://regionaldevelopment.org.au/