Online communities booming in Tasmania

22 May 2002

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia today congratulated the Kingston Online Centre on achieving the key milestones of 1000 registered users and 1000 volunteer hours.

As a main supporter of Tasmanian Communities Online, the Bank also welcomed the sustained growth of the centres across regional Tasmania. More than 43,000 users are registered through 64 centres.

Mr Malcolm Portwin, the Bank's Manager, Southern Tasmania, said the Bank was delighted that the access centres had achieved such widespread reach. "Almost 345,000 people across rural and regional Tasmania now have easy access to internet services and computer training courses via the community centres," Mr Portwin said. "This represents about 75 percent of all Tasmanians."

"The centres are meeting a strong community demand for computer training, particularly among young people whose employment prospects are increased by these skills. A quarter of the registered users of the centres is under age 18."

Over 25,000 Tasmanians have completed free or fee-for-service training courses provided by the centres. In addition, the centres host more than 11,000 web pages.

"The strong growth in web page hosting at the centres is a very positive step with local businesses and community organisations benefiting commercially from having a presence on the internet," he said

Mr Portwin said that the Bank was making internet banking courses available to people attending the centres.

The Bank is supporting the Tasmanian Communities Online Network for three years at a cost of $500,000 per annum. In addition, it has provided $3 million to support a computer-based training facility at the University of Tasmania and has joined with the Tasmanian Education Department to provide computer equipment and programs to secondary schools at a cost of $4 million.