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$2B Communications Fund essential for the bush

11 September 2007

IN 2005, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) campaigned for, and secured, the $2 billion Australian Government Communications Fund as a perpetual plan that guarantees rural Australians get telecommunication service upgrades, continually into the future.

“The Fund is perpetual in that the interest accrued on the $2 billion investment must be spent on upgrading telecommunications across rural Australia – including the most remote areas of the country,” NFF President David Crombie said.

“As the Fund grows, it enables upgrades to roll out as new technology becomes available.

“It ensures rural families, communities and businesses – including our farm sector, which supports 1.6 million Australian jobs and generates 20% of our national exports – are not ‘left behind’ just because the profit margins in bringing new technology to the bush aren’t as great as they are in metropolitan areas.

“In fact, the more remote people are, the more they rely on accessing the latest information technology and services.

“The Communications Fund also ensures delivery of those services to rural Australians at metro-comparable prices… meaning they are equitable and affordable.

“If the Fund is raided without an appropriate plan for the bush, often the reality is companies simply will not invest in rural areas, deeming them commercially unviable. The Communications Fund ensures rural telecommunications are continually brought up-to-date – without it the bush will go backwards.

“The NFF vehemently opposes any move to ransack the Communications Fund.”

[ENDS]

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250

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