Residents of a remote Indigenous community will be able to access phone and internet reception for the first time, following the launch of a mobile phone booster and satellite internet in the homeland.
A small-cell satellite was installed in the community of Lingara, which will deliver internet and phone reception across a 5km radius.
Located 30kms from Yarralin, the only way Lingara residents could previously reach family, friends or essential services outside of the community, was via the one Wi-Fi public phone.
Residents gathered in the streets to welcome the phone and internet service, which will be particularly important during the wet season, when residents become completely isolated due to flooding from the four surrounding creeks.
Victoria Daly Regional Council (VDRC) Mayor, Brian Pedwell, said the successful installation would mean a better quality of life for people in the homeland.
“When you can’t make or receive a phone call or get onto the internet, it means you’re cut off from family and essential food and health services,” Mayor Pedwell said.
“It was incredibly frustrating, especially during the wet season where flooding around the community meant you couldn’t leave at all.”
The installation of the small-cell satellite is part of a wider Homelands Project, supported by the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA).
The $277,404 in grant funding provided from ABA covers upgrades to sewerage systems in the community and the installation of a common effluent drain and connections up to 30m per house, to service community homes.
VDRC was declined grant funding for the rural homelands and regions of Pigeonhole, Amanbidji, Gilwi, Menngen, Myatt, and Fitzroy to also receive internet and telephone coverage.
Mayor Pedwell thanked ABA for its support in the project, and said he was looking forward to working with the agency in the future.
“It is unfortunate Victoria Daly did not receive funding for the other six rural homelands and areas without mobile and internet coverage, but we are taking things one step at a time,” Mayor Pedwell said.
“For the people of Lingara, this is going to be life-changing.”
Feature image: Provided by VDRC.