Regional telecommunications review highlights need for improvement
25 May 2012
The National Farmers Federation (NFF) has today thrown its support behind the recommendations of the Regional Telecommunications Review which highlighted the need for vastly improved telecommunications services in regional Australia.
The Review Committee noted that rural and remote Australians are keen to use the benefits of mobile devices in their everyday lives but that there are commercial limitations to expanding the mobile network coverage.
NFF Vice -President Duncan Fraser noted that it is these missing links of access to technology that will preclude rural businesses and households from participating in the digital economy, discouraging tourism and growth, unreliable services in emergency situations and stunting productivity gains.
“The NFF supports the recommendation for a co-investment program, jointly funded by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to work to expand mobile coverage to regional Australia. The NFF also supports the recommendation to continue the Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme with an emphasis of a commitment to uniform national wholesale prices,” Mr Fraser said.
“It is essential that the Government invests in improving technology and upgrading existing services to provide farmers and agricultural industries opportunities with the development of strategies and new applications,” Mr Fraser said.
“The NFF would like to see governments continue to work with the agricultural sector to develop digital strategies, including identifying how to best deliver specific training opportunities and demonstration sites as recommended by the Committee,’ Mr Fraser said.
“We note that that Government has already accepted the Committee’s recommendation to enable remote schools, health clinics and local government’s facilities to access the NBN Interim Satellite Service. The NFF encourages the Government to implement the report recommendations and continue to invest so as to provide rural Australians with more opportunities in the digital economy,’ Mr Fraser said.
“There are areas of the farming sector already exploiting the opportunities of the digital economy. The NFF wants to see this expand to all regional communities to enable future growth for the agriculture sector and boost the productive capacity of regional Australia,’ Mr Fraser said.
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