Wingecarribee Shire Mayor Councillor Larry Whipper will join Southern Phone Chairman Bill Hilzinger this Friday to hand over $25,000 to six Highlands-based community groups as part of the Southern Phone Grants Scheme.
“We received a fabulous response to the scheme this year,” the Mayor said. “There were numerous worthy applications and making the final decision proved extremely difficult.”
The six successful recipients will be presented with their cheques at Council this Friday 27 November 2015.
The monies are provided as part of the Southern Phone Grants Scheme whereby dividends are returned to shareholding Councils.
Formed in 2002 and initially funded by the Federal Government using money raised from the sale of Telstra, Southern Phone is an unlisted Public Company with only Local Councils holding shares.
Today 41 Local Councils hold a share in the company – including Wingecarribee Shire Council – and the company has grown to become the third largest provider of fixed line services (after Telstra and Optus) and the fourth largest mobile phone provider (after Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) in regional Australia.
“The history of Southern Phone is a fantastic success story,” Councillor Whipper said.
“It was established 13 years ago in a bid to provide more affordable telecommunications services to regional Australia,” he said. “And it’s now one of the largest players in the market.”
“But even more impressive is that since 2004, all profits have been returned to shareholding communities.”
“Basically, the more customers Southern Phone secure, the more funds they’re able to return to supporting communities like the Southern Highlands.
“And any dividends returned to Council are then used to help cover the cost of a range of community-based Council services,” the Mayor said.
This year is the second year in a row that $1 million dollars has been made available to shareholding Councils.
“Distributing $25,000 to our local community should give anyone in the market looking for a phone provider incentive to consider Southern Phone.”
Mayor Whipper will join Mr Hilzinger at a brief presentation ceremony on Friday 27 November from 10.30am in Council’s Moss Vale Civic Centre Nattai Room.