As part of the new operational arrangements I announced in March, the State Government is providing more than $680,000 in ongoing support for the Tasmanian Communities Online (TCO) network in this years Budget. This extra funding reinforces the Governments commitment to providing access to, and training in, the use of computers and the Internet to people in rural and regional Tasmania. Online Access Centres play a vital part in this regard and I look forward to their continuation.
This allocation is the first instalment of the Governments contribution to the two-year funding package for the TCO network. The total package is made up of a further amount in next years State Budget in addition to the sponsorship from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This funding will result in Online Access Centres being provided with greater financial security, increased access to existing management expertise within the Department of Education and greater opportunities to better utilise Government resources.
All of the Online Access Centres will continue to provide access to technology and one-to-one assistance in computer usage and the Internet. Several other funding initiatives contained in this years Budget include:
- an increase of 29% for the capital works program for schools, the Institute of TAFE and libraries;
- increased allocation for the purchase of library materials;
- increased funding to improve literary standards;
- funding to support development of a new school curriculum; and
- student behaviour and attendances initiatives.
These initiatives seek to support this Government's vision of a world class education, training and information system in this state and I look forward to working with everyone involved in the Tasmanian Communities Online network towards this important goal.
Ms Paula Wriedt, MHA
Minister for Education