STUDENTS living in Bowen will soon have access to the latest technology to complete their homework thanks to a $98,000 state government grant.
Nationals upper house member Sam Farraway handed the cheque to Bowen Community and Technology Centre manager Paula Townsend on Thursday, which Mrs Townsend said would be spent on 14 all-in-one computers, valued at $2500 each.
The centre has opened on weekdays at the Carriage Cottage for the past 12 years.
It is mostly used by children completing homework, but also by adults without internet access, managing their MyGov accounts.
In 2018, 4901 children used the centre to complete 1229 hours of homework.
Mrs Townsend said recent months had been a challenge because although the internet connection was stable, the computers had not kept up.
"We upgraded them to Windows 10 but it's not supported anymore," she said.
"It's time these computers went to the big electrical pile in the sky."
As a result, she said security software and the network had dropped out and the computers were no longer able to communicate with the printers.
"They have to be plugged straight into the computers, which is no good," she said.
Mr Farraway said it was good to see the smaller community projects funded.
"They make a huge contribution, providing what we otherwise might take for granted, having a computer at home," he said.
"They clearly want to see outcomes and that's what they've been doing for 12 years."
Mr Farraway also announced $129,000 in funding for the Orange and District Football Association to put towards lighting upgrades at Sir Jack Brabham Park.
He said the total cost of the project was $300,000 but the grant would kickstart progress towards twilight and evening matches, boosting opportunities for the association to host tournaments.
"It's really starting to take shape as a sporting precinct and it's becoming well-placed to host events," he said."
Mr Farraway said the Stronger Country Communities Fund did not require applicants to write a business plan.
"Writing a business plan is really difficult because how do you measure it financially? You can't," he said.
Mrs Townsend expected 2019 numbers to be down because usage depended on having a stable population.
"It's a very fluid population and last year was an exceptionally fluid year - kids would move away for a few months and the new kids don't know about this place," she said.
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