Tuesday, 14 December 2021 12:49

Morrison Government says Western Sydney set to benefit from investment in 5G

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Minister for Communications Urban Infrastructure Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher Minister for Communications Urban Infrastructure Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher

The Morrison Government has announced an additional $20 million for the second round of the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative, with $2 million of this funding dedicated specifically to projects in the eight Western Sydney council areas forming part of the Western Sydney City Deal.

Minister for Communications Urban Infrastructure Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the funding boost would further encourage the private sector to leverage the benefits of 5G technology to improve productivity.

“In the ‘Year of 5G’, the Australian 5G Innovation Initiative is helping to facilitate the trials of 5G technologies that can have a transformative impact across the Australian economy, including through applications like smart factories and warehouses, logistics management and autonomous vehicles,” Fletcher said.

“Round one of the program was a success, with 19 new and innovative projects across multiple sectors including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transport, and education and training underway.

“Under round two, we’ve set aside up to $2 million for projects in Western Sydney—building on the Morrison Government’s record investment in the region to drive job creation, enhance liveability and realise the bold vision for the Western Parkland City.”

Digital connectivity is a key focus of the city deal – over the last three years, all three levels of government have worked together to develop a Digital Action Plan, which sets out initiatives and actions to support the Western Parkland City becoming Australia’s first digitally-enabled smart city, the Minister says.

The 5G Innovation Initiative supports the Morrison Government’s Digital Economy Strategy and will contribute to Australia’s goal of becoming a leading digital economy and society by 2030, Fletcher continues.

Successful grant recipients will develop and test 5G applications, services and products to demonstrate the commercial incentive for businesses to adopt 5G solutions.

Consultation on the draft guidelines is expected to commence in the coming weeks, with the announcement of successful projects to occur in 2022, the Minister concluded.

More information about the Initiative is available here.

Leading up to the federal election, which will be held on or before 21 May 2022, we can expect the Morrison Government to make the most of any announcements. Here they are announcing a consultation on some further spending on 5G innovation and in doing so targeting Western Sydney with a relatively low $2M in spending. Early next year we can expect an announcement on the terms for the funding and how to apply, followed by another announcement on the successful recipients of the round two funding, probably just prior to the election.

The opposition performance has been pretty disappointing with a policy of throwing more money at NBN to bring forward replacement of FTTN. I expected more, their policies leading into the last federal election were much more extensive.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 10 December 2021.

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