ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
The former Prime Minister looked the Diamantina Shire mayor in the eye, shook his hand and lied to him.
In a part of the nation where you’re only worth as much as your word, Tony Abbott promised Geoff Morton that the National Broadband fibre optic network would come to the desert country, ending years of lobbying and campaigning for a fair shake of the technology sauce bottle.
But that was all bullshit. Until now.
The Turnbull government has made good on that promise, says Bedourie resident Gabby Dunkirk. This time last year, just sending an email was an arduous task. God forbid, she had to send an attachment.
“Last night, I was able to connect to Limewire and download ‘Sister Golden Hair‘ by America in under an hour,” she wrote excitedly on her Facebook account.
“It’s blown my mind. What next? I’m about to send an email to my friend in London! And it’ll only take a day to get there [laughs].”
These groundbreaking developments come from the SkyMuster satellite system being switched on in the past month. Since then, socks have been blown off all over the channel country.
So much so that startups and entrepreneurs are now looking at regional centres such as Boulia, Bebourie, Birdsville, Betoota and Bransby.
The first of what seems like many new companies to come to the area is Clemenger Thargomindah BDDO, which has opened shop in the suburb of Bransby, which is a bone-judderingly pleasant 300-minute drive from the Thargo post office.
Clemenger chairman Nathan Franklin said the isolation and beauty of the desert country are paying dividends when it comes to creative work.
“It’s such a rare place,” said Franklin. “Our lead creative out there is coming up with some real bankable ideas. He also loves shooting camels in his spare time. That’s one thing you can’t do in any other of our offices!”
Local Bransby outstation manager Greg Coleman said he’s never seen such life in the area – something he thought would never return after the Bank of Queensland closed down their Bransby branch back in 2009.
“While the branch wasn’t much to look at, just a bloke with a cake tin under a boree tree, it was good to have a banking service so close,” said Coleman.
“You could go down there and withdraw cash for races, rodeos and whatnot. It was a great service. Now we’ve got these flash advertisers in the area now. Should be good for the local economy that’s for sure.”
“Those cattle yards down there get used once or twice a year. When they do, the station manager often lands on the road, which is a hoot.”