Economy could get a $20 billion boost if we fix the internet
LIMITED access to internet could be holding Australian farmers back with research showing improvements to internet and phone services could increase national agricultural product up by $20 billion.
Technological advancements in agricultural equipment gives farmers the opportunity to increase productivity and output, but a local farmer said a decent internet connection was hard to come by in regional areas.
Dalby grain and cotton grower Kim Bremner uses a private internet provider to check water levels at his two properties and operate overhead irrigators remotely using his tablet.
Mr Bremner said these technological advancements in agriculture have made greater efficiency achievable but the required improvements in connectivity did not match.
"Precision farming technology can make our land many times more productive while improving environmental outcomes, but we need internet in the bush to be as good as it is in the city," Mr Bremner said.
"Modern farm machinery like irrigators, sprayers and harvesters have on-board technology that can customise the treatment of each individual square metre of paddock, maximising the productivity of our land while reducing water usage, use of farm chemicals, run-off and erosion. Such an investment in the economy, employment and sustainability of agriculture would pay dividends."
Mr Bremner is calling for the establishment of a national "tech hub" to provide information and education for rural people on how to connect to the internet and make the bast decision for their area.
"Both Labor and the Coalition have promised, if elected, to fund a 'tech hub' to provide independent information to help support people to build up the skills to solve their telecommunications issues," Mr Bremner said.
"It's not about rural families being able to stream Game of Thrones or their Spotify favourites; this is about encouraging innovation in agriculture by providing industry-specific advice about the internet and digital applications that will drive productivity gains."
Mr Bremner said he welcomes the Black Spot Program but the government need to ensure it is being established in the right places.
"We're calling for a lot more investment, they've done the towns in most of Australia now they need to do the highways and byways so that people on farms can have that same connectivity that people in the city do."