On Friday night, community members gathered in the streets to welcome phone and internet service for the first time in Lingara.
The small cell will deliver internet and phone reception coverage across a 5 km radius in the community.
Located 30kms from Yarralin, the only way residents could previously reach family, friends or essential services outside of the community was via the one Wi-Fi public phone.
This connectivity is particularly important for Lingara, which during the wet season becomes completely isolated due to flooding of the four surrounding creeks.
Victoria Daly Regional Council (VDRC) Mayor, Brian Pedwell, said the successful installation would mean a better quality of life for people in the homeland.
“When you can’t make or receive a phone call or get onto the internet, it means you’re cut off from family and essential food and health services,” Mayor Pedwell said.
“It was incredibly frustrating, especially during the wet season where flooding around the community meant you couldn’t leave at all.”
The installation of the small-cell satellite is part of a wider Homelands Project, supported by the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA).
The $174,950 in grant funding provided from ABA covers upgrades to sewerage systems in the community and the installation of a common effluent drain and connections up to 30m per house, to service community homes.
VDRC was declined grant funding for the rural homelands and regions of Pigeonhole, Amanbidji, Gilwi, Menngen, Myatt, and Fitzroy to also receive internet and telephone coverage.
Mayor Pedwell thanked ABA for its support in the project, and said he was looking forward to working with the agency in the future.
“It is unfortunate Victoria Daly did not receive funding for the other six rural homelands and areas without mobile and internet coverage, but we are taking things one step at a time,” he said.
“For the people of Lingara, this is going to be life-changing.”