National Farmers' Federation

Connectivity funding a win for the bush

Today’s announcement of $36 million across two connectivity programs is a double win for farmers and people living in the bush, according to the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF).

The Federal Budget included $30 million across three years for the On Farm Connectivity Program (OFCP) and $6 million for the next three years to expand the NFF-led Regional Tech Hub.

NFF President Fiona Simson said many people would be surprised by the advances in technology Australian farmers were adopting.

“Sophisticated technology and innovation are transforming the way we manage our crops, livestock and environment, but one of the biggest handbrakes to accessing these opportunities is connectivity,” she said.

“We expect the OFCP will support farmers to embrace technology to improve productivity in the same way city-based businesses access technology to take their operations to the next level.”

Regional Tech Hub Manager Jen Medway hosted Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, and Senator Deb O’Neill at her Gunning farm for today’s announcement, which is set to widen the scope to support rural, regional and remote communities with connectivity issues, information and literacy.

The Regional Tech Hub provides free, independent advice on telecommunications services and was developed and is managed by the NFF and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

Since its launch in December 2020, the Hub has helped thousands of regional Australians. Last year alone, the Hub directly impacted over 10,000 people’s lives and engaged with a further 100,000 by helping them get connected and stay connected.

Ms Medway said the funding will allow the Hub to expand its reach to support more rural, regional and remote Australians to get connected and stay connected.

“Picture a scenario where regional Australia is digitally connected, connectivity literacy is high, and individuals and businesses are supported to make the most of technology solutions.

“The Regional Tech Hub was established to make strides in these areas. As the connectivity landscape is complex and ever-changing, the Hub’s responsibility to translate, inform and resolve issues remains the cornerstone of everything we do.”

For more information on the Regional Tech Hub visit www.regionaltechhub.org.au
For more information on the OFCP visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/bcp