$2 longshot bet pays off for Coffs and Bellingen Councils

Southern Phone boss Phil Herrick has announced a big pay day for Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Councils.
Southern Phone boss Phil Herrick has announced a big pay day for Coffs Harbour and Bellingen Councils. Adam Hourigan

A TWO dollar investment in a fledgling telecommunications company has paid off big time for Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.

Each community will receive a share of a $1.35 million dividend declared by Southern Phone for distribution in 2013, the result of a $2 investment made in the company by Coffs Harbour City Council over 10 years ago.

In later years, Bellingen Shire Council also decided to take a piece of the action.

Following in the wake of the One.Tel collapse at the start of the millennium, Coffs Council's original $2 share speculation was met with some mirth and derision at first with some controversy later.

However, the community-owned company (based in Moruya) has since accumulated a healthy list of 41 shareholders and is tipped to be facing a future boom after getting in on the ground floor with the Labor government's National Broadband Network.

Southern Phone's general manager Phil Herrick said the Coffs Harbour and Bellingen councils welcomed the cash injection with the dividend paid in proportion to the amount of business generated in each local government area.

"Last financial year Southern Phone revenues were $65.4 million, up from $48.6 million the previous year," he said.

"Residents throughout the region will reap rewards with a $48,929 return to Coffs Harbour and $19,214 to Bellingen Shire Council."

Coffs received the sixth largest share of the $1.35 million dividend with Bellingen in 16th place.

The company was formed in 2002 by a number of councils in NSW to deliver more affordable telecommunications services to the community.

It was funded by the federal government using money raised from the sale of Telstra to improve telecommunications services in regional Australia.

That seed funding finished in 2004 and since then Southern Phone has operated successfully and profitably.

Southern Phone is the third-largest provider of fixed line services in regional Australia and the fourth-largest mobile phone provider.

Brave boy uncovers man's cow sex, child sexual abuse

A beast in the main arena at the 2012 Ekka.

Police praise boy for testimony of man's abuse and sex with a cow

DPI puts Dolphin Marine Magic 'all but out of business'

A battle over seal enclosures at Dolphin Marine Magic threatens the facility's ability to stay open, Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser warns.

DPI crackdown a threat to Dolphin Marine Magic, warns MP

Medics fight for rights

SPREADING THE WORD: Bellingen paramedic Justin Williams writes "Mike Baird has promised to protect us by January 31”.

Paramedics face more risks yet are least protected

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Blooming Woolgoolga

Handmade flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

HANDMADE flowers have brought colour to mental health in Woolgoolga.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Miranda Kerr to wed next year

Supermodel Miranda Kerr

Supermodel and Snapchat founder to wed

What's on the small screen this week

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

TWO big reality shows wrap up this week while

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge