In a sparsely populated country almost the size of Europe, providing infrastructure to keep up with fast-developing technology is an ever-present and expensive problem.
Mobile phone connectivity is one of Australia’s most important infrastructure issues, playing a key role in safety, education and tourism. And with about 500 nominated mobile black spots across SA, many communities are guaranteed to miss out on new infrastructure during this round of Mobile Black Spot funding.
But the State Government’s plan to give communities priority for the funding if they co-contribute is at best a double edged sword.
It could be argued that communities that were desperate for the infrastructure would find ways to raise the money.
And in some cases, co-funding could be a way of ensuring the whole community was on board – preventing a repeat of the recent scenario in Cherryville in which some residents successfully rejected the new infrastructure after funding was allocated.
But it’s also important that all communities – regardless of their wealth – have equal opportunity to put forward their case for better infrastructure. While it may be appropriate to give some consideration to a community’s willingness to co-contribute, the most emphasis should be based on merit and need – not bank balance.
Rock art revival
News that Aboriginal rock art paintings are still being found just over 40km from the centre of a bustling city of more than a million people is remarkable.
Local expert Robin Coles believes more art lurks in the hills and gullies around Rockleigh and Tungkillo.
Mr Coles will next week give an address on the cultural significance these sites held for the Peramangk people who painted them.
The majority of early migrant generations to this land ignored – indeed ridiculed and despised – the culture of the original inhabitants.
But thankfully things are changing and the joy and fascination which accompanies the announcement of the discovery of new rock art sites shows a new, more accepting, indeed wondrous attitude is emerging.
Only now are mainstream Australians openly recognising and appreciating the deep cultural roots established by Australia’s Indigenous inhabitants.
We are fortunate to have people such as Mr Coles willing to provide a link between the cultures. And we are also fortunate that ordinary people are now willing to cross that divide to learn about an almost obliterated culture which inhabited these same Hills less than 200 years ago.