Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie, has tabled the report of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, which makes a series of recommendations to improve telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia.
The report 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review: Getting it right out there puts forward 10 recommendations to: improve access to telecommunications infrastructure, ensure modern and appropriate consumer protections and promote digital inclusion.
Senator McKenzie welcomed the findings.
“Telecommunications touches every aspect of life for those living in regional, rural and remote Australia. This report is a vital check-up on the health of regional communications. Now more than ever it is critical that we get connectivity right in our regions,” Minister McKenzie said.
“We know that better regional communications is a key to growing local communities. As Regional Capitals Australia said in a submission to the Productivity Commission, ‘Better internet connections draw jobs to regions not just by attracting businesses, but by attracting workers for whom fast broadband is a baseline requirement to move to an area.’
“The Committee was the most consultative ever held, with 22 public sessions across the country, from Kalgoorlie to Katherine and Whyalla to Narrabri. More than 380 submissions were also received from a range of individuals and organisations.
“I thank the Committee for their comprehensive report and for everyone who participated in the review.”
Recommendations included that:
- the Government commit to improving digital literacy in regional, rural and remote Australia
- governments and industry should reduce barriers to people engaging with essential services online, including unmetering data for access to government sites
- a targeted Indigenous Digital Inclusion program with a focus on access, affordability and digital ability be developed in partnership with Indigenous communities
- the Government commits to a large scale, multi-year Stronger Regional Connectivity Package to improve broadband and mobile services in areas of high economic, social and public safety significance, particularly in areas served predominantly by the Sky Muster satellite service. Investment to be guided by a strategic place-based approach.
The Government will respond to the Committee’s recommendations in early 2019.
The review is conducted every three years by an independent Committee.
The final report is available at: www.communications.gov.au/regional-telecommunications-review