Program to Fixing Mobile Blackspots in Outback NT

Residents of Manyallaluk have received mobile phone and fixed broadband services thanks to a three-year, $30 million co-investment program between the NT Government and Telstra.

Manyallaluk is about 100 km north-east of Katherine and is home to about 100 people.

Both the NT Government and Telstra have each committed $5 million per year over three years to the program that will build at least eight new mobile base stations in remote communities within the Territory.

Program to Fixing Mobile Blackspots in Outback NT

Photo: article provided

The community of Barunga has also benefitted from the program and now has a fixed broadband service, further to its previous constructed mobile service, which will help provide new economic opportunities for locals.

Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo said the agreement with Telstra has been integral to the government’s pursuit of reliable telecommunications infrastructure in remote communities.

“The NT Government, in conjunction with Telstra, is providing people living in the bush with the same access to telecommunication services as those in our cities,” Ms Uibo said.

“The provision of this telecommunications infrastructure will provide the people of Manyallaluk and Barunga with greater capacity to develop businesses and gain access to economic opportunities.

“Access to mobile and broadband services allows families to more easily stay in touch, which is so important for our remote and regional communities. If an emergency were to arise, mobile phone coverage can play a major role in getting people the care they need, it’s a wonderful development for the communities of Manyallaluk and Barunga,” Ms Uibo said.

“I am happy to confirm that Santa Teresa, Kaltukatjara, Minyerri and Yarralin will also receive both mobile phone and fixed broadband services before the end of the year.”

Minister for Corporate and Information Services Lauren Moss will be in Canberra tomorrow to hold a range of meetings with Federal Government Ministers and Senators.

Minister Moss will use the visit to put the case for more Federal Government investment in telecommunications in remote and regional Territory communities as well as tourism infrastructure.

This article was originally published by the Katherine Times.

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          Published on
August 9, 2017

Improving Dogs’ Health in Remote NT Communities

A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down for humans, but buttered bread works just as well when it comes to dogs.

remote NT communities

Photo: article supplied

The novel approach to delivering medicine is being spread around remote communities in the Northern Territory’s Roper Gulf region in an attempt to improve the health of all dogs living in the area.

“We lace the bread with a medication that treats dogs for worms, ticks and scabies,” said Sam Phelan, the in-house veterinarian for the Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Animal Health Program.

“And we give it on bread to make it easy. You can inject the medication as well, but then you’re catching dogs for needles and they soon learn what the rattle of the cage sounds like.

Dr Phelan said there was a common misconception that dogs in many of the region’s Indigenous communities were wild.

She said the term camp dogs, often used to describe the dogs that roam the streets, was terminology that did not accurately describe the situation.

Regardless of the naming conventions, Dr Phelan admitted dog bites and the spread of disease were concerns in communities with free-roaming animals.

But she said working with local animal management teams to deliver the medication programs had a two-pronged effect.

“By feeding them bread I get to know their owners and the dogs quite well, and problem dogs very quickly identify themselves,” she said.

This article was originally published by ABC.net.au.

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          Published on
August 2, 2017

More Mobile Coverage and Better Roads Would Drive More Tourists to the NT, Officials Say

A lack of mobile coverage and poor roads are some of the key reasons tourists don’t come to the Territory, NT tourism officials have said.

But with better infrastructure, the tourism industry could be vastly improved, the federal Parliament’s Northern Australia Committee will be told this week.

tourists to the NT

Photo: article supplied

The committee has received submissions from Tourism Top End, Kakadu Tourism and the NT Government.

“Infrastructure will play an integral role in the development of Tourism across the NT,” the Tourism Top End submission stated.

“Development should include a mix of public and private investment that enables visitation in shoulder and low seasons to increase.”

According to the submission, improved mobile phone coverage would help.

“Gone are the days where we could say ‘come visit the outback, and leave the phone and stress of everyday life behind’. Full access to telecommunications is essential and expected.

“ … The Northern Territory has too many ‘black-spots’ that are inhibiting engagement and business growth,” the submission stated.

This submission came less than a month after two people were killed in a road crash in Litchfield National Park.

A mobile phone black spot left the friends of those killed unable to call for help.

They were left to wave down passing motorists in a bid to raise the alarm as their friends burned in a fiery wreck.

The submission to the committee also showed only 25 per cent of roads across the NT were bitumen. “A focus on developing our road network to all weather access will benefit the tourism industry, transport and logistics, the cattle industry and link regional towns and indigenous communities enabling economic development and growth,” the submission stated.

This article was originally published by NT News.

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          Published on
July 25, 2017

NT Program Boosts Indigenous Army Recruits

Education is a major barrier to indigenous Australians joining the defence force, but a successful Northern Territory initiative is providing a stepping stone to youngsters hoping to bridge that gap.

Photo: article supplied

More than 30 young soldier trainees from across the country have graduated from a five-month boot camp designed to boost Aboriginal recruitment numbers.

Disadvantage and poor attendance rates prevent many indigenous kids from completing Year 10, which is a minimum qualification to join the army.

During the course based in Batchelor, about 100km south of Darwin, students learn language, literacy and numeracy skills while honing their and physical fitness.

Last year’s graduates brought the number of indigenous Australians in defence to more than 500 for the first time since World War II.

Numeracy lecturer Bruce Garnett says the change he’s seen in the students is phenomenal.

“You see these young people grow up, develop and become proud,” he said.

“It gives them a really good head start before they go into the army full time, so they’re primed for success.”

He estimates up to 200 students will be enrolled in the program this year.

Graduate Dylan Perkins took out the Top Trainee award at the ceremony on Friday, and Mr Garnett says his improvement in maths has been huge.

“He has been humbugging me for extra work – he wanted to do algebra even though that’s not strictly part of the course,” Mr Garnett said.

In three days the 26-year-old will head to the Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre near Wagga Wagga in NSW, where he’ll carve out a career in defence.

This article was originally published by SBS.com.au.

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          Published on
July 19, 2017

Australia’s First Battery ‘Gigafactory’ Considered For Darwin

An Australian company has announced a bold plan to build Australia’s first “gigafactory” in Darwin, producing custom-made lithium-ion batteries for large-scale energy storage.

Energy Renaissance said, if it were to go ahead, the huge manufacturing plant would supply commercial customers in telecommunications, defence and government sectors.

Energy Renaissance plans to use patented technology from US company 24M to build batteries that can withstand harsher conditions.

darwin gigafactory

Photo: article supplied

The Northern Territory Government confirmed it was in talks with the company about the facility, to be called Renaissance One, which it estimates could create dozens of jobs at first, and hundreds in the long term.

But a statement from a spokesman for the Chief Minister noted “Cabinet is yet to consider their proposals”.

Gigafactory is a term for factories that can produce gigawatts of battery storage.

Mr Craighead said the factory would be capable of producing one gigawatt of lithium-ion battery cells each year.

He said the East Arm industrial precinct in Darwin was the perfect spot for the factory given the access to shipping routes to Asia, where the company hoped to sell their batteries.

The move follows an announcement by entrepreneur Elon Musk that his company, Tesla, would partner with the South Australian government to install the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery.

Tesla already has the world’s largest gigafactory in the US state of Nevada, but Mr Craighead said the Darwin project would be on a smaller scale, targeting niche consumers with the capacity to produce bespoke batteries.

“We’re a niche player,” he said.

Su McCluskey, the chairwoman of Energy Renaissance’s board, said the company also saw opportunities to provide energy to remote communities.

“If you look at the Northern Territory, the number of remote communities, Indigenous communities, something like battery storage can really provide that solution to give them access to services,” she said

This article was originally published by ABC.net.au.

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          Published on
July 11, 2017