The Albanese Government is seeking feedback from farmers and equipment service providers on the new $30 million On Farm Connectivity Program funded through the October Budget.
The Program is part of the Albanese Government’s Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia, committing funding over three years to grow Australia’s agricultural sector through extended connectivity for farmers and their innovative machinery.
The discussion paper launched today sets out initial information on the Program’s scope, and encourages industry feedback to ensure it is fit-for-purpose to deliver on the needs of the agricultural sector.
In its current design, the Program will contribute towards the cost of an equipment service provider purchasing, installing and delivering some initial training on equipment which extends connectivity on farms and agri-businesses – including in the forestry and fisheries sector – so primary producers can take advantage of connected machinery and sensor technology.
The Program will enhance agricultural productivity across the country by supporting the uptake of innovative technology.
The first round of funding is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2023 through a grant application process.
The October Budget included one of the most significant regional telecommunications investment packages since the establishment of the National Broadband Network over a decade ago, with over $2.2 billion invested in regional telecommunications over the next five years. Other measures funded through the Budget will improve mobile coverage and capacity, boost communications resilience, and expand programs to address known black spots.
Submissions close on the On Farm Connectivity Program discussion paper on 3 March 2023. To make a submission visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“The agriculture industry is a core part of Australia’s economy, employing thousands of people, feeding millions more, and is a trusted supplier for many importers overseas.
That’s why the Albanese Government is taking action to back our hardworking farmers to stay at the cutting edge of agricultural innovation.
Our On Farm Connectivity Program will provide support for our multi-billion agricultural sector to be able to take advantage of connected machinery to drive increased productivity.
Feedback from primary producers on the ground who know the sector better than anyone else is essential for the successful design and implementation of this Program, and I encourage them to have their say”.