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Clever Networks funding for health care in remote QLD

14 August, 2007

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Arts, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan has announced funding of $5 million to provide high-capacity broadband services to support health care and emergency services to communities in remote North Queensland.

As part of the Australian Government’s Clever Networks Program, Queensland Health will be provided with funding to establish the Cooeenet@qld project, developed in partnership with the Department of Emergency Services and the e-Health Research Centre.

The project targets 15 remote communities with an immediate need for improved intervention in the early treatment of emergency patients: Bamaga, Bowen, Charters  Towers, Clermont, Cloncurry, Collinsville, Cooktown, Dysart, Hughenden, Ingham, Julia  Creek, Normanton, Richmond, Thursday Island and Weipa.

“This project will help provide timely intervention in the care of patients unable to travel long distances easily and who are often in a distressed state,” said Senator Coonan.

“Cooeenet will assist patients in these communities by providing online access to specialist health services, such as paediatrics and ophthalmology, which may be hundreds of kilometres away.”

The new healthcare services provided will be based on state-of-the-art digital technology for vital sign monitoring and videoconferencing, as well as providing radiology image capture, storage and transmission, and breast screening.

“This project builds on the Northern.net@qld initiative, funded through the Australian Government’s Co-ordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund,” said Senator Coonan.

“Clever Networks is a $113 million Australian Government program that will see improved delivery of services in regional, rural and remote Australia through innovative broadband projects.”

Successful projects to receive Clever Networks first round funding will include virtual healthcare, remotely accessible interactive education services, and delivery of integrated state-wide emergency services.

More information about specific projects will become available as each successful negotiation is concluded.

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