Coast's subsea internet cable plans hit firewall

ANNOUNCE: Ted O'Brien,Peter Dutton and Andrew Wallace at Cotton Tree Park to announce funding for a global undersea internet cable.
ANNOUNCE: Ted O'Brien,Peter Dutton and Andrew Wallace at Cotton Tree Park to announce funding for a global undersea internet cable. John McCutcheon

UPDATE THURS 1.30PM: Mayor Mark Jamieson has advised that he wrote to Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, Fisher MP Andrew Wallace and Senator James McGrath on November 16 advising that Council had been informed that its application for the $250,000 could not be funded under the program the Commonwealth had nominated.  

He said he'd been yet to receive a reply.

Meanwhile Mr O'Brien said he would check his emails once power was restored after widespread blackouts, but if he was "not mistaken" the email Cr Jamieson could be referring to had, among other issues, expressed concerns about grant guidelines, but Mr O'Brien did not believe the email had said council had received a "categoric no".

Mr O'Brien said his office was seeking paperwork from the Mayor's office in regards to the funding rejection.

He said the commitment would be delivered, but suggested the council hurry up and engage the marketplace.

Cr Jamieson earlier this week told the Daily he was hoping the Australian Communications and Media Authority would be more proactive as the council pushed for a subsea cable protection zone to be declared on the Coast, noting it was rare for local governments to be taking the lead on such a project.

He said private companies had been impressed thus far with the council's efforts to de-risk the process.


IT'S a pre-election funding promise that's causing friction between our mayor and one of our MPs.

The $250,000 pledged by the Federal Government for a feasibility study into an undersea internet cable has failed to materialise post-election, Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson says.

He said the council had been rejected in a funding application for the $250,000, but that's news to Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien, who was adamant the funding would be delivered, but warned the council risked missing an opportunity if it was too narrow-minded.

Cr Jamieson said the council had been working tirelessly at getting the Australian Communications and Media Authority to commit to an environmental study process which would ultimately deliver a subsea cable protection zone to the region.

RELATED: Funding promise for undersea internet cable

Mr O'Brien said he was unsure why the funding rejection had occurred, whether through bureaucratic process or misunderstanding, but said he would sort it out, before questioning why Cr Jamieson had not raised it with him when the application had been rejected.

Should the Federal Government honour its undersea cable funding promise?

This poll ended on 15 December 2016.

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Yes, of course.


As long as it's used the way it was supposed to be.


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Mr O'Brien was at pains to point out the money pledged for a feasibility study had been "carved out" and was to be used to ensure the optic cable could be best leveraged to develop the technology sector, boost employment and increase investment in the Coast.

He was clear the funding was not for the council to form a business case for ACMA for a subsea cable protection zone declaration in advance, rather than the usual retrospective process.

"This is not a desk-based analysis that leads to a glossy marketing document. It's about getting money into the Sunshine Coast," Mr O'Brien said.

OUR SAY: New MPs need to take note

He said focusing too heavily on the infrastructure phase would see the Coast miss the opportunity to grow its tech sector as he called on the council to "get on with the deal" and begin an expressions of interest tender process by engaging the private sector to gauge the appetite for the project.

Cr Jamieson said he would like ACMA to be more proactive, as it was rare for local governments to be "leading the way" like the council was on what he said was about a $200 million project. He said private companies had been encouraged by the council's attempts to de-risk and de-politicise the process.

Topics:  business federal government politics sunshine coast sunshine coast council technology

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