NSW Farmers calls for improvements to telecommunications to be a part of federal election agenda

NSW Farmers rural affairs chairman Garry Grant is hopeful improvements to regional telecommunications could become an election priority.
NSW Farmers rural affairs chairman Garry Grant is hopeful improvements to regional telecommunications could become an election priority.

RISING fuel prices and climate change are expected to be among the issues at the forefront of the upcoming federal election campaign.

However, the state's peak farming body is hopeful a more long-term issue that has affected the country for years will be discussed before the country heads to the polls.

NSW Farmers is calling for improvements to the country's telecommunications services to be included as an election priority.

"There has been investment by the NSW Government into fixing black spots recently, so as far as the entire country goes, NSW isn't going too badly compared to other parts of the country," NSW Farmers rural affairs chairman Garry Grant said.

"It's been a long-time problem that the federal government is fully aware of and to be fair they have made some improvements recently, but there is still a long way to go.

"If the pandemic has shown us anything it's how important telecommunications are for everything from farming businesses, to working from home and completing school remotely.

"I honestly think any candidate who is prepared to make this issue a priority could gain some momentum, especially in the bush."

Mr Grant's push comes after the federal government's 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review handed down its results.

Review chairman Luke Hartsuyker identified 12 recommendations for the government to follow and said the country was at a crossroads where it could "either risk the digital divide expanding, or see the regions flourish."

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Collie grower Lindsay Mears said improvements to the communication services were vital to productivity in the agriculture sector.

"Whether its a booster in your house or in your tractor, they are becoming an everyday part of life and you can't do too much without them," Mr Mears said.

"Personally, I think our area is fairing a bit better than some others and that really boils down to how close you are to a tower.

"If you live in between two towers, which a lot of people do, sometimes your only way of making a phone call is to find the right spot and say a prayer.

"Good and reliable telecommunication services are not just essential for living but also for productivity for business and a variety of other things, so hopefully we could see some improvements."

The federal election is expected to be held in May this year.

This story Communication services not up to scratch in the bush: peak body first appeared on The Land.