AgForce has welcomed announcements by both major political parties towards improving telecommunications infrastructure in regional, rural and remote communities after advocating for this critical infrastructure for many years.
AgForce General President Georgie Somerset said both parties had now committed to investing $160 million for rounds five and six of the Mobile Black Spots Program, and to delivering regional connectivity and digital literacy initiatives.
She said these announcements were a major win for farmers and all Australians living in rural and remote communities.
“People living and working in these areas need fairer, more reliable and affordable phone and internet services,” Mrs Somerset said.
“Creating connected communities is essential in a state as large as Queensland – that’s why it’s one of the four main tenets of our own election campaign.
“Queensland is Australia’s most decentralised state, with 80 percent of land used for agriculture. We need reliable telecommunication services for community safety, business development and children’s education.
“AgForce will continue to work with the government, whichever party is in power, to ensure telecommunications infrastructure is available to those who need it most.”
AgForce Telecommunications Committee Chair Peter Thompson agreed farmers needed better connectivity for themselves and for their families.
“The fact that we’ve got bipartisan support for telecommunications infrastructure in the bush is heartening,” Mr Thompson said.
“Farmers must be able to connect socially, as well as access information and communications technologies to run their businesses and to put food on all our tables, reducing the cost for everyone.
“Enhanced connectivity also has immediate health and safety implications for Australians living in rural, regional and remote areas, and there are significant long-term benefits to more people being able to use digital technology to access education and health services.
“Whatever happens on 18 May, AgForce will continue advocating for the connectivity needs of rural, regional and remote communities.”
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