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Rural and remote telecommunication service inadequate: farmers.

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NR 128/2000 12 October 2000

RURAL AND REMOTE TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICE INADEQUATE - FARMERS The National Farmers' Federation has today welcomed the report from the Telecommunications Service Inquiry, and the findings that telecommunication services in rural and remote Australia were inadequate, confirming NFF's long-held views.

Chairman of the NFF's Farm Business Management Committee, Geoff Crick said, "The Government's acknowledgment of the importance of telecommunications to country Australians confirms the need for these shortfalls to be urgently addressed.

"However, NFF welcomes the Inquiry findings that metropolitan and regional Australians enjoy good telecommunication services and are generally satisfied with them.

"NFF believes that any action to make telecommunications' service more equitable should be given the highest priority," he said.

"The Inquiry's recommendation for the establishment of a national communications fund, with particular emphasis on the availability of education and health services in regional, rural and remote communities is very welcome.

"However, there still needs to be much greater coordination between Government funded activities if these are to be effective," Mr Crick said. "The widened role for the Australian Communications Authority in rural, regional and remote Australia is also welcome, and should lead to carriers fulfilling the expectations of users against realistic performance measures.

"The Besley Report has clearly confirmed that remote, rural and regional services are far from world's best practice," he said. "NFF believes that urgent Government emphasis must be given to implementing policies and programs to remedy this deficiency. This deficiency is inhibiting a significant proportion of Australians from participating in the information economy," Mr Crick concluded.

For further information

Geoff Crick Chairman, Farm Business Management Committee, NFF 0427 858 626

Wendy Craik Executive Director, NFF 02 6273 3855 0419 257 469

Mark Needham Consultant, Telecommunications, NFF 02 6273 3855 0418 653 877

Copyright © 2000 National Farmers’ Federation. All Rights Reserved.