Bundaberg Regional Council is diving back to the future in a bid to re-establish credentials as the best place in eastern Australia for undersea cables to come ashore.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council has been discussing opportunities with the government and planned to ramp this up.
It follows news on Saturday that construction has begun on the $35 million Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable network project, which will provide Australia’s fastest data and telecommunications transmission speeds to Asia.
State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the cable would prove a key catalyst in boosting the local economy.
“This exciting project will see an undersea fibre optic cable built to connect the Sunshine Coast and Queensland directly to Asia and the United States,” Mr Dick said.
“The cable will be a major business and investment drawcard, particularly for enterprises with large data requirements.”
Mayor Dempsey said he congratulated Sunshine Coast Council on being awarded the project.
“I'll be urging the Queensland Government to consider Bundaberg for similar initiatives, especially linking Queensland with Pacific nations,” he said.
“We hope to piggyback off the new Sunshine Coast cable to reinstate the Bundaberg Region as Queensland's data transfer capital.”
The Federal Government last year announced work is under way to lay high speed telecommunication cables from Australia to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Bundaberg, being the closest point on the Australian coast to New Caledonia, was selected by the French, Queensland and New South Wales Governments in the 1890s as the site for a cable connection.
Historic cable came ashore at Mon Repos
The undersea cable, which was opened in October 1893, was the first stage of a telegraph link that eventually connected Australia with Britain and Europe via New Caledonia, Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii and North America.
The cable came ashore at Mon Repos and was connected to the Bundaberg Post Office.
“The Bundaberg Region has suitable terrain, a proven track record and an innovative culture that's ideal for this type of project,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“I'll be writing to Minister Dick, asking him to prioritise the Bundaberg Region for future undersea cable projects.”
Mayor Dempsey said he would also request a meeting with the Minister to discuss the issue and Council's Regional Deal priority for a high-speed fibre network to improve connectivity.
“We're not just the most liveable community in Australia, we also want to be the smartest,” he said.
Mr Dick said the Sunshine Coast project would create up to 864 new jobs and could add $927 million to the state’s economy.