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State Government Funds Regional Internet Access

The New South Wales State Government will give AUS$7.2 million (US$4.32 million) to fund the set up of 55 community technology centres in small towns across country NSW.

NSW Premier Bob Carr expects 200,000 people to benefit from a new four-year plan which gives local communities email and Internet access and regional business new opportunities.

Mr. Carr said the plan will help deliver better infrastructure and services to small country communities in regions in the Far West, Central West, North Coast, South Coast and Northern Tablelands.

"It will also allow businesses to expand and join the e-commerce revolution. Estimates suggest it could help generate up to 3000 new jobs," said the Premier.

"Country people will be able to use free online government services such as paying your electricity bill, checking your HSC results or studying a TAFE course over the Net," he said.

According to the Government, each technology centre will have at least six Internet connected computers and a scanner, video conferencing facilities, business equipment, printers, faxes and photocopiers.

The NSW Government is working with the Federal Government to jointly fund the plan under the 'Networking the Nation Fund'. The Federal Government has announced it will contribute AUS$8.25 million (US$4.95 million) to the project, bringing the total funding to AUS$15.25 million (US$9.15 million).