Discussions about rural telecommunications are full of static, and not just because of the copper phone lines. Farmer and Seftons managing director, Robbie Sefton has been instrumental in cutting through the noise as an independent committee member of the federal governments 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review. Recently submitted to the government, the review is held every three years and examines regional telecommunication issues.
Ms Sefton said effective connectivity was essential for modern farming businesses. “Farmers are trying to increase farm productivity, the conversation is moving to how technology can assist them to be more efficient and effective in their farming businesses, whether that is cropping, horticulture or livestock”, she said. “Connectivity is important both operationally in the paddock and in the office for the management of book keeping and compliance across the business”. “We need an efficient and effective, accessible internet connection. We also ideally need a good mobile phone connection on farm”.
Ms Sefton said connectivity outcomes for rural communities were a driver for her involvement with the review. “I see myself as someone who is a champion for having a dynamic, prosperous, rural and regional Australia’, she said. ‘If we do not address the issues that we have around telecommunications, if we do not keep on top of the accessibility, speed and geographical reach, then we will become a second class citizens in the bush.
“The future for rural, regional and remove Australia is about being able to access reliable and effective internet access and mobile phones. “Participation in the digital world is no longer a luxury, it is an integral part of our daily life.”
Written by Sharon O’Keeffe for The Land.