Strengthening disaster telecommunications – East Gippsland

Thirty-five East Gippsland communities will soon receive telecommunications systems to help ensure resilient communications are available during emergency events.

The rollout across the shire, which starts today, is part of the national Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters (STAND) program after Council’s successful nomination of locations in the second round of the program.

The program will boost internet connectivity resilience and help locals in disaster-prone areas stay connected to emergency and support services.

The community facilities to receive the infrastructure investments are halls, reserves and fire stations across the length and breadth of the shire. The upgrades will include satellite-linked Wi-Fi and, for most community facilities, a Smart TV and meeting system capability is provided to support communities to remain connected through emergency events.

The Commonwealth has committed to fund satellite service costs for the first three years.

Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said the 2019-20bushfires taught us that we need to make networks more resilient if we’re going to ensure that our towns are connected when it matters most.

“These upgrades will provide communities with more resilient satellite internet and AV connections in times of disaster. This is new infrastructure that helps some of our most remote and isolated communities be more resilient by providing another option at a community facility when the mobile telecommunication system fails. That is great progress and a proactive response to the 2019-20 Black Summer fires,” Cr Reeves said.

There are currently eight existing municipal and district-level STAND sites across the shire at Bairnsdale City Oval, Buchan Recreation Reserve, Cann River Recreation Reserve, Mallacoota Main Hall, Omeo Recreation Reserve, Orbost Recreation Reserve (cricket club oval) and Paynesville Recreation Reserve.

“We successfully nominated an additional 35 sites to support alignment with work to be undertaken as part of the Community Resilience and Development Program,” Cr Reeves said.

“In partnership with NBN and representatives of each committee of management we are working to confirm installation dates.”

Local contractors are being used where possible, with contractors from East Gippsland and the wider Gippsland region already engaged to work on the rollout.

Council and community emergency management coordinators will integrate new operational processes into municipal emergency planning and procedures.

The35 newly approved STAND sites are: Bemm River CFA Station, Benambra Recreation Reserve, Bendoc Hall, Bonang Hall, Bruthen Hall, Bullumwaal Mechanics Institute, Bundarra (STAND only), Cabbage Tree Creek Hall, Clifton Creek Hall, Club Terrace Old School, Cobungra CFA (STAND only), Combienbar Hall, Ensay Hall, Ensay Recreation Reserve, Fernbank CFA Station, Flaggy Creek Hall and Recreation Reserve, Gelantipy CFA Station, Genoa Hall, Glen Valley Hall, Glenaladale Hall, Goongerah Community Hall, Johnsonville Hall, Lake Tyers Beach Hall, Lindenow Recreation Reserve, Lindenow South Recreation Reserve, Marlo CFA Station, Nowa Nowa Hall, Raymond Island Hall, Sarsfield Hall, Swan Reach Recreation Reserve, Swifts Creek Hall, Tamboon (STAND only), Tubbut Community Hall, Wairewa Hall and Wulgulmerang Hall.

Work is tipped for completion by July2022.

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