Rural voices to be heard for nation's communication needs

REGIONAL Australians fed up with mobile phone black-spots - and those looking to capitalise on new communications technology - will soon be able to air their views.

With Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing a review of regional telecommunications this week, a four-member panel with experience across rural Australia has been appointed.

The review sets the agenda on what needs to be done for regional, rural and remote Australians in the areas of broadband and internet, mobile phone reception and new communication technology.

New appointees to the panel included Regional Australia Institute chief executive Su McCluskey and Queensland's Agforce vice-president and primary producer Georgie Somerset.

Speaking to APN from Rockhampton's Beef Week, Ms Somerset said the terms of reference were yet to be set for the inquiry, but the panel wanted to hear from everyday people, businesses and the big lobby groups.

"From an agribusiness perspective, we'd like to hear about what opportunities there are that will lift productivity," she said.

"Doctors' appointments (via internet video link) and health and education could also play a role, but we won't know until we meet in a couple of weeks."

Ms Somerset said the panel would welcome submissions from anyone with ideas on how to improve telecommunications in regional Australia.

"I think for many regional businesses, it's really difficult to keep up unless they've got high-speed broadband access, and some of those solutions are out there but aren't available in rural areas," she said.

The review will assess whether people in regional, rural and remote areas have "equitable access" to telecommunications services, especially those already available in metropolitan areas.

It will also examine consumer protections as the National Broadband Network rolls out, and how successful the government's mobile black spots program has been.

The review panel is scheduled to report its findings in August.


Topics:  malcolm turnbull mobile phones telecommunications

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

South West Hospital welcomes doctors

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: Dr Talia Trigger will be starting in Surat in April.

Two new doctors will be joining the South West Hospital team.

How's the serenity? Coal battle blasts off

High-profile barrister Saul Holt QC, in red tie, is appearing for Oakey Coal Action Alliance, one of three defendants in the case New Acland has brought.

Comedy classic collides with New Acland coal battle

Vegetation laws strike at heart of southwest

MULGA FEED: Cattle munch on Murweh mulga. Property owners are concerned about what the changes will mean for cattle production in the southwest.

Controversial vegetation management laws were reintroduced.

Local Partners