The Rural Regional and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) has today welcomed the start of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review (RTIRC).
Georgie Somerset, Chair of the National Farmers' Federation’s Telecommunications Committee, and a member of the 2015 RTIRC panel, highlighted the importance of the Review.
“This Review is shaping to be one of the most important Reviews of regional telecommunications in recent time, given the nbn is nearing completion, mobile blackspots towers are being switched on across Australia and the Universal Service Guarantee reform process is currently underway," Ms Somerset said.
"We are at a critical point in time for Australian agriculture.
"Farms are becoming increasingly digitalised, yet we remain hampered by a lack of connectivity, and we know this connectivity is needed to take our industry to the next level of productivity.”
The review panel will include two of the RRRCC’s most valued members – Kylie Stretton and Johanna Plante.
"Kylie lives with connectivity challenges every day and we know she is committed to finding effective solutions ," Ms Somerset said.
"As a northern cattle producer, founding member of Better Internet for Rural Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) and a representative of Agforce Queensland, I can think of no better candidate to represent the needs of our sector,” Ms Somerset said.
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) CEO Teresa Corbin said the review was important to all regional people.
“There is much room for improvement when it comes to bush telecommunications.
"Improving connectivity can dramatically improve people’s lives, in particular through access to vital services such as health and education.
"It is also a key ingredient to building resilient communities and opening up economic potential.
“As ACCAN’s immediate past chair, Johanna Plante understands these issues first hand. Johanna has vast experience across the telecommunications sector including in leadership roles with industry and regulatory agencies; with Networking the Nation and more recently working directly with consumer organisations.
"Johanna also now resides in a small rural community.”
“As a founding member in 2016, Johanna has also been a regular contributor and adviser to the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications
"The Coalition has grown from eight members to more than 21 very influential organisations and has greatly raised the profile of the need for reliable communications services in non- metropolitan Australia.”