Coffs seeks NBN federal grants
COFFS Harbour City Coucil approved an allocation of $80,000 from the 2011/12 budget in a bid to gain three large federal grants in relation to the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
An extraordinary meeting was held on Monday night for a variation to the budget that is likely to see it receive $995,000 under the National Digital Economic Strategy.
Three councillors were absent from the meeting but those who were there voted unanimously in favour of the recommendation despite the fact that the move would see the Council's general fund move into deficit.
Coffs Harbour City Council mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said that the decision gives the community a strong chance of receiving a terrific boost when the NBN rollout takes place.
"It gives us the opportunity to possibly snare $1 million in federal funding," Cr Rhoades said.
The meeting was called as the cut-off dates for applications of two of the grants close on February 3.
Those two grants will result in $620,000 in funding.
Council has assessed that for the community to gain the maximum benefit on the NBN rollout, it needs more than just having optic fibre cable available to plug into.
The federal grants are to build digital awareness and capacity in the region.
As CoffsHarbour was announced as one of 19 locations across the country for the second wave of roll-outs of the NBN, the mayor is confident that the applications will be approved.
"We're just so fortunate as a community here to be selected very, very early because we're not competing against the rest of Australia for this money, it's dedicated to those that are getting NBN," he said.