May 30, 2013

Broadband Benefits for Ballarat, Geoff Howard MP Seeks Local Input

Geoff Howard MP, State Member for Ballarat East says that with the Federal Labor rollout of the National Broadband Network the City of Ballarat and regional Victoria is now becoming closer than ever to other sites across the world.

“This means that the disadvantages presented by distance are now no longer so limiting to economic opportunities for regional communities and regional Victorians can have broader work options facilitated by new technology.”

The state parliament Rural and Regional Committee is now commencing an inquiry into best practice in e-business and remote working policy.

Mr Howard is Deputy Chair of the committee, he said that there’s no doubt that teleworking is growing more popular across the world as it can provide a real alternative to
the daily commute to work.

“At present we have a significant number of people who commute to Melbourne or other major centres for work daily from the Ballarat area.”

“Not only does this see much time and stress added to the working day of commuters but it adds to traffic congestion and costs governments more as the pressure to build more freeways and upgrade public transport increases”.

Governments in other countries including USA and many European countries have taken action to require government departments and private businesses to set targets for more staff to be able to work from home for one or more days per week.

“Workers from home often say they are more productive and have a better work–life balance. Also the potential benefits of getting cars off the roads and keeping people in
rural and regional Victoria are enormous while the opportunity to attract more people to come and make that lifestyle move away from Melbourne can benefit regional economies.”

This Inquiry will look to determine the best way to ensure rural and regional Victoria is
prepared for the opportunities provided by the broadband rollout.

“I’m sure that many people who presently commute or who already work from home would have useful insights to share regarding what government could do to promote increased telecommuting and e-business.”

“Our Committee is calling for submissions to the Inquiry and I would encourage anyone prepared to share their views to contact me or go to the committee’s website to register
their interest.”

“We are interested in hearing from experts who can provide advice and information on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. I am sure many Ballarat residents who have who have first-hand experience of teleworking or establishing their own e-business could provide us with valuable advice,” said Mr Howard.

To view the full Terms of Reference and information on how to make a submission to the Inquiry visit: www.parliament.vic.gov.au/rrc
Or phone Geoff Howard on 53317722