Federal Member for Fisher the Hon Mal Brough has urged the new Federal Government to deliver on broadband to help get confidence back into the local business community.
“It is a necessity. It is going to be crucial,” he said during his maiden speech to the 44th Parliament on 14 November. “The data era will offer opportunities and jobs for places like the Sunshine Coast.”
Mr Brough suggested that Federal and State bureaucrats could also work part-time or full-time from home and in the regions to decentralise the workforce and take away some of the congestion issues.
The Minister said he would hold the government to account to ensure the Sunshine Coast would receive broadband by 2016.
Supporting the move towards more flexible work arrangements for government employees, the Federal Minister for Communications, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull, said smart work hubs could also provide the social interaction that could be missing when working remotely or in isolation.
“These hubs combine secure spaces for employees to telework to their main office with more public areas for co-working,” Mr Turnbull told delegates at last week’s Telework Congress, a key event in the Australian Government’s National Telework Week.
Speaking via videoconference from Canberra, Mr Turnbull said the Telework Kit also drew attention to the growing international interest, particularly from the Netherlands, South Korea and Singapore, in multi-purpose smart work hubs to bring work closer to where people lived, as an alternative to teleworking from a home office.
“Regional Development Australia organisations are very interested in this idea, as are Enterprise Connect Regional Innovation Coordinators in South East Queensland, NSW Central Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Illawarra,” he said.
“They are concerned about the stress and cost to local workers of the long commutes from these areas into work. Also, the fact that not everyone has the right circumstances to have a home office, and some employers want more secure health and safety and ICT environments for their employees than a home office might provide.”
Mr Turnbull said this was the reason why the Government had committed to providing $7 million to fund the development of the Kibbleplex Centre in Gosford on the NSW Central Coast. The masterplan development is set to include a teleworkers’ hub, regional library, offices, classrooms, meeting rooms, café, childcare centre and a university presence.