From the CEO – Paul Dobing
Six months in and I am really enjoying the work and community here in East Arnhem. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to meet so many of you and gain a better understanding of the role that DEAL plays in securing a positive long term future for Nhulunbuy, the Gove Peninsula and East Arnhem as a whole. I am really excited about the projects we are already delivering and the opportunities we have ahead.
The team has been focused on preparing for what promises to be a busy dry season with the welcome return of tourists to the region, progress on the Gunyaŋara (Gove Port) Tourism Precinct, work with the Ranger Groups on exciting growth industries, fieldwork on aquaculture opportunities and some other big projects set to be delivered. You can read more about the update on the telecommunications projects below.
A big focus for me over the last couple of months has been working closely with the Regional Reconstruction Committee on the East Arnhem Regional Economic Growth Plan. This plan identifies a range of opportunities for creating jobs and prosperity for the region and achieving a diverse and sustainable economy in East Arnhem. What is important to me, and for DEAL, is ensuring we take the plan and turn it into meaningful actions and results so that we can all see progress. Watch this space for a release date and more information about the East Arnhem Regional Economic Growth Plan.
I have also been working closely with the Gove Peninsula Futures Reference Group and our Economic Transition Workstream to make sure we are moving ahead on our priorities. There is no doubt that the availability of housing is one of the most pressing issues in Nhulunbuy and across the remote communities and homelands and coming up with meaningful short term solutions is a key priority for DEAL this year.
And finally, I had the chance to drive the ‘track’ from Darwin to Nhulunbuy and got a first-hand understanding of why the upgrades to the Central Arnhem Road and the related infrastructure are so important to our long term future. One of the early actions from the Regional Reconstruction Committee is getting the Regional Roads Committee back up and running so that we can continue to advocate strongly for these works and improvements to progress quickly.
It has been a great six months. Keep in touch and I look forward to catching up with you around the region in the weeks and months ahead.
Telecommunications Regional Investment Strategy
Following the development of a collaborative regional investment strategy for telecommunications in 2019, funding for three joint project proposals was secured in April 2021. The three projects include:
- an $8 million Arnhem optic fibre (backhaul) upgrade;
- a $3.45 million Yirrkala fibre project; and
- a $1.24 million homelands community satellite WIFI project.
DEAL has committed $500,000 to the Arnhem Fibre upgrade project and $100,000 to the Yirrkala Fibre project.
The Arnhem optic fibre upgrade will significantly increase bandwidth availability in all the mainland communities between (and including) Jabiru and Nhulunbuy for businesses, industry, service providers and residential customers. The upgrade will also provide the improved broadband needed for the Arnhem Space Centre on the Gove Peninsula. The extension of the fibre network to the Arnhem Space Centre is complete and network upgrades will commence in 2022.
The Yirrkala Fibre project will see Yirrkala become the first remote community in the Northern Territory to have Fibre to the Premise delivered for all commercial and residential properties. The upgrade will support economic diversification opportunities in cultural tourism, creative industries and the health sector, as well as improving access to telehealth and education services. The contract for the design and construction of the Yirrkala Fibre project has been awarded and the design phase is expected to commence mid 2022.