Raft of issues heard by telecommunications review committee

Federal government's 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review hears early feedback

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Regional Telecommunications Review chairman Luke Hartsuyker is calling on regional residents to have their say about telecommunications. Photo: File

Regional Telecommunications Review chairman Luke Hartsuyker is calling on regional residents to have their say about telecommunications. Photo: File

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Bush residents are being urged to share their experiences with telecommunications by September 30.

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EVERYTHING from lack of mobile coverage, the transition from 3G to 4G, to quality of services and internet blackspots have been raised as part of a federal government review into the telecommunications sector.

The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review began on July 1 and is calling on regional communities to share their experiences to help shape government policy in the future.

So far, the review's committee, which consists of Luke Hartsuyker, Sue Middleton, Kristy Sparrow, Professor Hugh Bradlow and Michael Cosgrave, has held 24 public consultations regarding the issues as well as several more with stakeholder groups.

Held every three years, the review aims to improve telecommunication services for regional areas and included in this year's key issues will be adequacy, opportunity and awareness.

As part of the three categories, the review will explore changing demand, reliability, regional development and education.

"One of the big changes that has occurred since the last review in 2018 is the fact communications has gone from something that was very important to something that is now vital," review committee chairman Luke Hartsuyker said.

"When your communication stops business stops, peoples ability to communicate stops and often people are in danger, so it has become even more important to us to optimise telecommunication services in regional areas."

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Mr Hartsuyker, a former Nationals MP and Deputy Leader of the House said the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on regional telecommunications would also be explored by the committee.

"What we are seeing is with so many kids being home schooled and so many people working from home, the amount of data being used during lockdown has gone up significantly " he said.

"As well as that, the type of data and the flow of data has gone up significantly, which is changing the nature of how we use data.

"It is a similar story in the agriculture sector, as ag-tech is becoming a multi-million dollar industry, the amount of data and the type of data being used by that sector is changing dramatically, which is just another aspect this review will explore."

The committee will hand down its findings before the end of the year and regional residents are being encouraged to share their experiences with telecommunications by September 30, via the review's website.

"We're certainly keen to hear peoples experiences, even if it is just a short submission, it is all helpful," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"There has been some really useful feedback received during the consultation period so far. We have received more 300 submissions so far and they are continuing to flood in as we approach the deadline but we would always like to see more."

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