The ‘Meeting Tree’ is the first of four to be installed across the Central Highlands region, thanks to funding from the Commonwealth’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
The $22 000 multi-function devices are powered by a solar panel, providing free wi-fi access, phone charging and lap top charging.
‘The trees will not only benefit local residents, but also the many travellers that tour our region,’ Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said.
‘Often in times of disaster one of the first utilities to break down is the electricity grid, leaving our communities without access to vital information from emergency services.
‘These devices will bridge the gap in times of need, enabling people to plug in, receive information and send messages to loved ones – to stay connected.’
Cr Hayes said in addition to the disaster management benefits the environmentally-friendly trees were also a win for the region’s tourism sector, as they will be operational all year round.
The sites for the three remaining meeting trees are currently being assessed for suitability.