THE Elliston District Council has increased its contribution to its Elliston communications improvements project to provide $80,000 for the project.
The improvements needed will cost $3.629 million and Telstra has committed more than $2 million to the upgrade.
The preferred option for the upgrade includes a combined optic fibre link and radio transmission system with infrastructure and telecommunications exchange upgrades.
Elliston chairman Kym Callaghan said he called a special meeting earlier this week to increase the council’s funding of the project so it would have a better chance of attracting funding from the Federal Building Better Regions Fund.
The fund provides money for infrastructure projects and community investment that creates jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities.
Mr Callaghan said he received advice from Regional Development Australia, Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula (RDAWEP) that the project would be viewed more favorably if it had more co-funding.
“Telstra have been really good, they have been going pretty hard to make sure we can get some funding,” he said.
He said the telecommunications situation at Elliston was urgent and a fix was something the whole community desperately needed.
Mr Callaghan said it was no longer just the schools, homes and businesses having problems with the internet and phone reception.
After speaking with hospital staff earlier this week, he said they were concerned it could be a matter of life or death if something was not done soon to fix it.
Mr Callaghan said while the council had to remain confident the project would receive funding, getting money from any level of government was not easy.
“We can not afford for this to fall over, which is why I called the meeting on Monday and it’s why the council have decided to up their contribution to $80,000,” he said.
“This is about as much as a small council like ours can really afford.”
He said the council had come a long way in the last 12 months and making a submission to the fund was another positive step to getting phone and internet reception fixed.
Mr Callaghan said RDAWEP would make the submission on the project before the end of the month.