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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 2473..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

assistance, Mrs Burke, to the Hepatitis C Council. The Hepatitis C Council has received extensive assistance from the government.

In fact, the Hepatitis C Council was virtually defunct about 18 months ago. ACT Health stepped in. Working closely with interested members of the public, it rejuvenated the council, got it back on its feet, got it operating properly. So ACT Health has shown its commitment to this very important function.

In relation to the first part of your question, you should ring Senator Kay Patterson.

Gungahlin-residents' telecommunications access

MS MacDONALD

: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Minister, the residents of Gungahlin have not enjoyed the same access to telecommunications as other residents of Canberra. Can you explain to the Assembly what steps the ACT government has taken to resolve this longstanding problem?

MR CORBELL

: As members will be aware, residents of Gungahlin have endured significant problems with telecommunications access since the establishment of the new town. In particular, there have been repeated problems with black spots for mobile phone communication. These are not just little black spots, either; they are significant holes in the network. In addition, broadband access for internet activity is also severely constricted.

I was very pleased to announce today, along with my colleague the Chief Minister, that the government has agreed to the direct sale of a site in the Gungahlin Town Centre for Telstra to build a new multimillion dollar telephone exchange that will provide high-speed ADSL broadband internet access for all Gungahlin residents. This process has been expedited by the ACT government.

We have worked closely with Telstra over the past two to three months, and we are now delivering for Gungahlin residents the high-speed internet access they need and deserve. It is a big boost for the Gungahlin Town Centre because it means that for the first time businesses locating to the town centre and Gungahlin residents choosing to work from home will have the high-speed internet access they need to make that happen.

The government is also facilitating access to land for new mobile phone towers. There are proposals for mobile phone base stations to be located at the Actew Gungahlin Hill water reservoir, which is off the Barton Highway in Crace. I also announced that that has been approved today. It will greatly improve mobile phone coverage in that part of Gungahlin.

This Telstra facility will provide both GSM and CDMA mobile phone technology, with the Optus facility providing GSM technology. So that tower will be used by two of the main mobile phone carriers. The government has also worked closely with Optus and has recently given approval. Construction has now been completed on a mobile facility on top of a light pole on the corner of Gundaroo and Mirrabei drives in Gungahlin Town Centre.


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