THE Victorian Government recently announced it has walked away from the Commonwealth mobile black spot program, in favour of its own system.
The $11 million planned for the third round of the Commonwealth program will instead be redirected to a state program.
Victorian Farmers Federation vice president Brett Hosking said the new program is simply moving existing money around, with no new funding commitments for regional Victorians.
“Minister for Innovation Philip Dalidakis has previously claimed that ‘there will always be towns that will not get coverage’,” Mr Hoskin said. “These comments show an unacceptable attitude.
“We shouldn’t be shooting for mediocrity. We must lift our ambitions. Telecommunications are essential and beyond personal use, mobile phone voice and data are key resources for farm businesses.”
The VFF Telecommunications survey found many farm businesses are particularly concerned about the occupational health and safety implications of poor or non-existent coverage, with some respondents unable to contact emergency services in case of an accident.
“Communications technology is vital to develop new and innovative farming practices,” Mr Hoskin said.
“Poor coverage is hampering farmers and preventing them from improving sustainability and pursuing productivity gains from improved analytics.
“We need more investment in regional mobile coverage for voice and data.
As of last week, Australia dropped behind Kazakhstan for average broadband speeds.