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Coalition’s mobile coverage policy connects with farmers

13 August 2013

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the Coalition’s announcement of a mobile phone coverage policy that would see highly improved conditions for farmers in rural and remote communities.

The policy, titled ‘The Coalition’s Mobile Black Spot Programme’ commits to investing $100 million to improving mobile phone coverage, with $80 million specifically for a mobile coverage expansion programme, that will improve coverage in small and rural communities, major transport routes and locations prone to natural disasters. A further $20 million will go toward addressing unique coverage issues through a mobile black spot programme.

“While farmers have been calling for improvements in mobile coverage for many years, this is the first substantial investment in rural mobile coverage pledged at a Federal level in a number of years, and shows a real commitment to the issues faced by rural communities when it comes to telecommunications,” NFF President, Duncan Fraser has said today.

“For farmers, mobile phones are about more than just convenience– they are an important and integral aspect of their business operations and, even more significantly, their personal safety. Access to basic communication technologies will assist farmers to participate in the digital economy.

“Farmers spend the majority of their day outdoors, often long distances away from their homes and landline phones. Access to secure mobile phone coverage means that not only can they continue to conduct their basic business operations from the paddock, but that they have access to immediate assistance if faced with matters of safety such as a bushfire or accident,” Mr Fraser said.

“Both major parties, through the National Broadband Network, have committed to improving conditions for rural and regional communities through fixed wireless and satellite broadband services. But with this policy, the Coalition have showed they are listening and demonstrated their awareness of mobile phone coverage as an incredibly important aspect of the day-to-day operations for farmers.

“We now look to other political parties to also commit to mobile phone coverage as a key issue this election – it certainly remains a key issue for farmers and the agricultural community.”

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