Member for Moore Shane Love MLA has welcomed the State Government’s decision to adopt the $22 million Agricultural Telecommunications Fund (ATF) – a central pillar of The Nationals’ telecommunication policy.
Previously the State Agricultural Telecommunications Infrastructure Improvement Fund (ATIIF), Mr Love said the ATF was developed by The Nationals in recognition that reliable, high-speed internet access was key to facilitating the development and adoption of new technologies in the State’s agriculture sector.
“The adoption of new technologies such as driverless vehicles, remote sensing and variable rate technology delivers important productivity gains and improved efficiencies, and contributes to the overall success of farm businesses,” Mr Love said.
“However, farmers cannot implement these cutting edge technologies without access to high-speed internet and mobile phone coverage.
“The Nationals recognised the need to create opportunities for high-priority innovative agricultural telecommunications infrastructure and telecommunications technology to be constructed in regional WA and developed the ATIIF policy to deliver it.
“Despite its continued criticism of Royalties for Regions and cuts to other important programs such as the Grower Group R&D Grants Program, the State Government’s decision to adopt The Nationals’ ATIIF (now ATF) policy should be viewed as a win for the State’s farmers and agribusiness professionals.”
The Nationals’ spokesperson for telecommunications Hon Colin de Grussa MLC said reliable mobile phone reception and internet access was pivotal in ensuring WA farmers remain competitive in a dynamic international market.
“During the previous term of Government, The Nationals’ delivered unprecedented investment to improve telecommunications infrastructure – the construction of 344 new or upgraded mobile phone towers and small cell satellite installations across the State through the Royalties for Regions-funded Regional Telecommunications Project (RTP),” Mr de Grussa said.