A project to provide the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Community with access to reliable telecommunications links during major weather events has won the Achieving Big Things in Small Communities category in the 2018 National Awards for Local Government.
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council’s Emergency Management Network project was providing a much-needed backup telecommunication system for the community.
“This is truly an outstanding achievement and everyone involved should be extremely proud of their achievements,” Mr Entsch said.
“This project successfully established a freely available, weather resistant, independently solar-powered telecommunications backup ‘hot-spot’ system for locals to use during emergencies.
“In establishing the service the council had successfully overcome Wujal Wujal’s vulnerability to suffering telecommunications’ blackouts during severe weather events.
“Bad weather can cause the community to lose landline and mobile 3G telecommunications, mains power and road access for several days.”
Mr Entsch said the valley-wide network provided wind and rain-resistant telecommunications links for devices including smartphones, tablets, voiced-over IP hardware phones and personal computers that adhere to SIP communication standards.
“In the event that normal telecommunication links have been compromised, this enables the council, police, health services and volunteers to keep locals informed about how community emergency situations are being managed,” he said.
“Using apps that provide the community with free voice and text messaging services, locals can also keep in touch with each other and visit a number of council-approved websites to find out more about the situation.”
“This is a wonderful initiative which will foster community spirit in times of adversity and might even save lives.”
Mr Entsch said as one of the 10 category winners in the 2018 National Awards for Local Government, the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council is now in line to be selected as the winner of the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government.
He said the winner of the national award for excellence will be announced at the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly Dinner in Canberra on Tuesday, 19 June 2018.