Federal funding boost for regional connectivity

NSW Farmers’ calls for improved access to reliable and affordable telecommunications have been answered today with the Australian Government committing to a $220 million investment in regional communications. 

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee chair Garry Grant said the Association welcomes this significant investment as a means to improve the ability to engage in the digital world, regardless of location. 

“The recent investments in connectivity since the release of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review report, indicates that the Government finally appreciates the value the agricultural sector has on the wider Australian economy and socially within regional communities,” Mr Grant said. 

He said participation in the digital world is no longer a luxury in regional areas, it is an integral part of everyday life.  

“If our agricultural sector is to compete in a global market, farmers need to be able to live their lives and conduct their businesses with the support of technology connectivity in a manner that is equitable to engage global information and markets.”

Mr Grant said in particular, the establishment of a digital tech hub to improve digital literacy is a recommendation NSW Farmers has put forward in numerous telecommunication reviews. 

“Increasingly, regional and rural citizens experience a crisis of confidence when it comes to using and understanding the complexities of the digital technology. People are now expected to have internet access and the necessary skills to navigate websites to perform everyday tasks.” 

“A digital hub will deliver trustworthy information where one can access reliable information to ensure greater understanding of what is available and what services will suit their needs.”

“Today’s announcement also includes two new funding rounds for the mobile blackspot program, which will be welcome news for our members wanting to highlight locations impacted by a lack of coverage.”

NSW Farmers continues to advocate and engage with the Australian and NSW State Governments on the need to ensure all regional and rural communities are equally connected and participating in the digital world.

Date: Wednesday 20 March 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988