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June 22, 2024 4:27 PM

Six Upper Hunter Locations Included in Communications Program

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BY ALEX TIGANI

Member for Hunter Dan Repacholi welcomed Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland to Singleton last month for the launch of an emergency services backup satellite service.

The pair received a tour of Singleton SES Unit on Wednesday, October 19 which is one of six sites in the Upper Hunter being funded through the Federal Strengthening Telecommunications Against Natural Disasters STAND program.

Earlier in the morning she also visited Charmhaven’s RFS Regional Headquarters.

“Unfortunately, we are having more frequent severe natural disasters,” she told The Hunter River Times.

“What this is about is providing satellite uplink capability to specific areas or first responders and gathering points for emergencies.

“There are around half a dozen of these projects in the Upper Hunter including Singleton SES, Bulga, Muswellbrook Evacuation Centre and Putty and we expect that the over 1000 sites around Australia will be completed by the end of November.”

The $37.1 million funding will see NBN Co install 2,000 Sky Muster satellite connections to rural and country fire service depots and designated evacuation centres.

Locations were chosen on a consultative basis.

“We know that in a natural disaster access to reliable communications can be the difference between life and death,” she continued.

“That’s why this program, is really fundamental to this area.”

Singleton SES spokesman Martin Gray also added that satellite set ups around Putty had already assisted the local unit in recent events. He was also joined by Singleton mayor Sue Moore.

It marked the Minister’s first visit to Singleton since Labor’s victory in this year’s Federal Election.

Interestingly, two of the previous four Ministers for Communication have gone on to become Prime Minister.

They were Labor’s Anthony Albanese (who held the role for 79 days in 2013) and Liberal’s Malcolm Turnbull (2015-18).

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