Major connectivity boost for communities across Queensland during natural disasters

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Queensland residents and communities will be better prepared for natural disasters following the completion of all Sky Muster satellite installations at key evacuation centres in Queensland under the Australian Government’s Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program.

The satellite services will help ensure communities can remain connected by providing evacuated residents with free access to community Wi-Fi during natural disasters when land-based communications networks are damaged or offline.

The $37.1 million STAND program was established in response to the devastating 2019-20 bushfires and has seen the successful rollout of NBN Co Sky Muster satellite services at 62 evacuation centres across much of Queensland in local government areas such as Moreton Bay Regional, Gold Coast City, Scenic Rim Regional, Toowoomba Regional, and Rockhampton Regional.

STAND-funded assets have proven to be effective in supporting local communities during natural disasters, including the 2022 East Coast Floods, the December 2021 and January 2022 Western Australia bushfires, Cyclone Seroja, the June 2021 Victorian and Ingham, Queensland floods.

Critical to the success of the STAND program has been the close engagement and cooperation between the Australian Government, Queensland Government, NBN Co, and local governments across Queensland to identify suitable locations for a Sky Muster satellite service that will best meet the needs of local communities during natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, and cyclones.

The Albanese Government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia funded through the October Budget commits a further $100 million towards communications resilience, including funding an expanded version of the successful STAND program.

The $50 million Telecommunications Resilience Disaster Innovation Program (TRDI) will support and accelerate the development and deployment of new, innovative technologies and solutions to address known communications issues during natural disasters, including telecommunications power resilience, the need for rapid emergency restoration of services, and increased satellite usage.

/Public Release. View in full here.