Councils to share phone dividend

Warrumbungle Shire Council will share a $1.35 million dividend declared by Southern Phone this year, the result of a $2 investment in the company more than 10 years ago.

Residents throughout the region will reap rewards of the dividends given to their councils, with a $12,760 return to Warrumbungle, $10,526 to Gunnedah, $10,116 to Narromine and $9,840 to Gilgandra.

Warrumbungle Shire Council is among the 41 shareholders in the community-owned telecommunications company.

They have welcomed the cash injection, with the dividend paid in proportion to the amount of business generated in each local government area.

Last financial year Southern Phone revenues were $65.4 million, up from $48.6 million the previous year.

The company was formed in 2002 by a number of councils in NSW to deliver more affordable telecommunications services to the community.

It was funded by the federal government using money raised from the sale of Telstra to improve telecommunications services in regional Australia.

That seed funding finished in 2004 and since then Southern Phone has operated successfully and profitably.

Southern Phone is the third-largest provider of fixed line services in regional Australia and the fourth largest mobile phone provider.

It employs 125 people at its Moruya office and serves a national customer base, from the tip of Cape York to Zeehan in Tasmania and from Bega to Broome.


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