National Farmers' Federation

Regional connectivity debated in the House of Representatives

Today the House of Representatives debated the importance of regional connectivity.

The Regional Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) welcomed the introduction of Rebekah Sharkie’s motion, which was debated on Monday afternoon.

Last month the RRRCC conducted their third delegation promoting the updated RRRCC goals document, which raises strategies for creating better connectivity for regional, rural and remote Australia.

The successful delegation created significant interest on the hill, resulting in Member for Mayo, Rebekah Sharkie MP, introducing a motion into parliament recognising the goals of the RRRCC.

“It is encouraging to see the importance of regional connectivity reflected in parliament’s engagement with the RRRCC and our goals,” said NFF CEO Tony Mahar.

“With our growing reliance on being digitally connected for education, health, work, and social matters, a reliable, resilient and affordable connection can no longer be seen as a luxury,” continued Mr Mahar.

The RRRCC goals document covers what is needed from the government to ensure that the growing digital divide between urban and regional, rural and remote consumers is fixed.

“With the 2021 Independent Regional Telecommunications Review being finalised at the end of this year, it is important that our policymakers and parliamentarians keep the essential nature of regional connectivity in mind,” said ACCAN Acting CEO Andrew Williams.

“Connection to the internet and mobile services is so much more than just streaming videos and surfing the internet.

“The level of isolation experienced by some regional, rural and remote consumers, and their reliance on being digitally connected, is something that people in our cities can now strongly relate to after months of lockdowns experienced across the country,” continued Mr Williams. 

In addition to the social need, the agriculture industry’s shared vision of a $100 billion-dollar industry by 2030 requires connectivity. The ability to deliver reliable, affordable, quality telecommunications can not be underestimated. It has the capability to boost the value of agriculture by $20.3 billion and lift the Australian economy by an estimated $24.6 Billion) by 2030.

Regional Australia’s digitisation is exciting, and we are asking those on the hill to prioritise regional connectivity. 

The five goals of the RRRCC:

  1. Guaranteed access to voice and data services.
  2. Equitable voice and data services that meet minimum standards and reliability.
  3. Continued Program to expand mobile coverage.
  4. Digital capacity building for regional, rural, and remote Australia.
  5. Affordable communications services for regional, rural, and remote Australia.

Learn more about the RRRCC’s five goals here

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