Matters of State | Connecting our regional area

Getting Connected: The Connecting Country Communities Fund was launched in 2017 as part of the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Getting Connected: The Connecting Country Communities Fund was launched in 2017 as part of the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Digital Connectivity

I am happy to announce the NSW Government is seeking Expressions of Interest from companies or internet service providers that have the potential to deliver better connectivity solutions for local businesses and households in regional NSW. The NSW Government’s new Regional Digital Connectivity Program is designed to provide tailored solutions to local connectivity issues being experienced by people living in the region and other rural and remote parts of the state.

The program will be open to businesses and internet service providers to submit proposals that will improve connectivity and deliver faster and more reliable digital services for regional households and businesses. This is all about giving smaller organisations the chance to submit great ideas that have the capacity to connect areas that would not otherwise have internet or phone coverage. From providing improved online learning for school kids, to platforms for regional exporters to manage global orders, we recognise there are opportunities to use existing government assets and install new infrastructure to deliver more consistent, local high-speed internet services.

It’s a fantastic chance to ensure businesses, community groups and the people of the region get the digital connectivity services they need and they deserve. Community members will also be invited to submit ideas and report challenges with mobile coverage or internet connectivity in their area by phoning 1300 679 673 or visiting the Connecting Country Communities web page by August 15.

Redress for child sexual abuse

In the NSW Parliament we recently welcomed the passing of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (Commonwealth Powers) Bill 2018. Having worked alongside survivors of institutional child sexual abuse during my time as a cop, I couldn’t be prouder to be part of a government that is leading the way to ensure survivors of these horrendous crimes receive the support and justice they should’ve been provided a long time ago.

It takes an unbelievable amount of courage for these survivors to stand up and give evidence on the injuries, both physical and psychological, inflicted on them by their abusers in institutions where they should have been safe.

Our government has been working closely with the Commonwealth and other state and territory governments to develop a scheme as recommended by the royal commission that is survivor-focused. We have ensured the reforms are guided by the needs of survivors and what is known about the nature and impact of child sexual abuse – and institutional child sexual abuse in particular.

Redress will now be available to survivors of sexual abuse, and any related non-sexual abuse, that occurred in a participating state or territory when that person was a child.

I have spoken about my involvement in the investigations into allegations of sexual abuse in the Hunter region of NSW on numerous occasions. The bravery of the survivors I worked with was extraordinary and humbling. It wasn’t until recently that I fully understood the impact working with these survivors had had on me and I couldn’t be more thankful for the support I received from my family, friends and colleagues. I also can’t help but think of those who didn’t receive any support. There are so many children who were ignored, were not believed and were not acknowledged. 

As a government we will never be able to remove the past for those who suffered, but we can try to provide some justice and some recognition of what has been unspoken for too long. Support services are provided as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Those who need immediate assistance should contact: Lifeline on 13 11 14; 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732; MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978.