Eight local councils from NBN first release sites will benefit from a federal government program that aims to have 80 per cent of Australians engage with the government via online services.
The three-year, $17.1 million Digital Local Government program is set to complement initiatives announced when the Digital Economy Strategy was released by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy at CeBIT last month.
"The Digital Local Government program is a key component of the National Digital Economy Strategy, which was unveiled last month, and builds on the $23.8 million Digital Communities and $12.4 million Digital Enterprise programs," Conroy said in a statement.
The various councils within Victoria (Moreland), Queensland (Townsville), NSW (Kiama and Armidale Dumaresq), South Australia (Onkaparinga) and Tasmania (Circular Head, Dorset and Sorell), will be eligible to receive up to $375,000 to assist in developing and upgrading online services for homes and businesses. These eight local councils, covering 40 communities, were NBN first release sites.
The program aims to helps deliver one of the federal government's National Digital Economy Strategy objectives, which is to have 80 per cent of Australians using online services to interact with the government by 2020.
Conroy expects that the solutions developed by these local councils will be adopted by other councils as the NBN roll-out continues.
While the eight eligible local councils have been encouraged to apply in partnership with the private sector or with each other, they will still be able to apply individually.
"Industry has an important role to play in working with local governments to develop innovative applications made possible by the NBN — ultimately enhancing the quality, accessibility and responsiveness of local government services," Conroy said.