Bush schools and emergencies get Clever AU$9m

The government has handed out over AU$9 million in two separate grants to bush schools and emergency services in Western Australia

The government has handed out over AU$9 million in two separate grants to bush schools and emergency services in Western Australia.

The funding was distributed as part of the government's AU$113 million Clever Networks program, which aims to boost rural services through broadband infrastructure.

This week, the Communications Minister Helen Coonan approved a AU$4.1 million grant to 88 Catholic and independent schools in rural, regional and remote WA to improve broadband infrastructure. Communications for 24 remote, predominantly Indigenous schools in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields-Esperance areas will be upgraded "as a priority", with improved satellite connectivity.

The 88 schools' infrastructure will be managed remotely, the government said.

Emergency services in WA also received funding this week from the program -- this time a AU$5 million grant to help support the development of communications for six emergency services agencies in the state, enabling them connect better despite their remoteness.

This project will provide access to real-time emergency services information using Internet-based voice and data services as well as satellite technologies. These technologies will permit cross-agency coordination of crisis management, allowing faster response to emergencies and near total coverage of Western Australia," Coonan said in a statement.

Previous recipients of Clever Networks funding include a AU$2 million broadband network for chronic disease management, a AU$4 million grant for a remote diagnosis system and AU$3.4 million to the Grampians Rural Health Alliance Network for improvements to maternity care technology.