The challenges around poor connectivity, and the resulting benefits when telecommunications work well, are key messages in the NSW Farmers’ pre-budget submission to the NSW government.
As farmers, we are increasingly reliant on voice and data to manage businesses, maintain productivity, and deliver innovative products to new domestic and international markets. The continuity of the Commonwealth Mobile Black Spot Program requires the NSW government to financially contribute to the roll-out, along with the retail service providers.
NSW Farmers is calling for an additional $15 million over the next four years to ensure this program continues and mobile drop outs are eliminated across regional NSW. We need to be able to live our lives, and conduct our businesses in a manner that is standard across the world for this day and age, and this requires a strong commitment from the NSW government.
There is enormous unmet demand for data in rural, regional and remote Australia, especially on farms. However, before farmers can invest in new farm technologies to improve market access and enhance consumer connections, capacity constraints must be overcome.
To build network capacity, NSW Farmers is calling on the government to deliver a further $30m under the Connecting Communities Fund. With the NSW government committing to expand telehealth access in regional and remote areas, NSW Farmers is calling for an additional $3m to ensure this technology delivers and expands access to high quality professional health services in the bush.
Telehealth can reduce the time, stress, and costs associated with having to consult a specialist doctor or gain professional medical treatment, and deliver better outcomes as a result.
- NSW Farmers’ rural affairs committee chair Sonia O’Keefe