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Digital infrastructure key to farm productivity

21 July 2015

New technology underpinned by improved access to digital infrastructure has the potential to revolutionise the agriculture sector, according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) in its submission to the 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review.

NFF CEO Simon Talbot said the submission provides nine recommendations to help modernise telecommunications, aimed at improving quality, accessibility, affordability and reliability of broadband and telephone services in the bush.

“The use of information technology in farming has evolved rapidly; moving from basic GPS applications; to the use of cloud-based systems to manage and draw insights from volumes of data to inform management decisions,” Mr Talbot said.

“With the rollout of the NBN, services to regional areas are improving in leaps and bounds. However, it’s essential that these improvements keep pace with the requirements of modern farm business.

“The current satellite offering from NBN has been well documented as falling short for existing users. If this happens again under the long term satellite solution it will be a major setback for rural and remote communities.

“The NFF has called on the Government to determine how long the permanent satellites will keep pace with demand from rural users. We cannot accept becoming a nation of digital haves and have-nots if we are serious about reaching the full economic potential of the agriculture industry.

“The NFF has a vision to double the farm gate value of agriculture to $100 billion by 2030. Technology is one of the key planks of that vision, and has important additional benefits for health and education in regional Australia.

“Greater investment in digital communications is a wise investment, and will pay dividends for many years to come. Simple policy steps outlined in the NFF submission – including smarter mechanisms to encourage co-investment and share infrastructure – will help lay the groundwork for greater impact from our digital infrastructure spending,” Mr Talbot concluded.

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