Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, welcomed the tabling of the Smart Farming report in Parliament today. The report, commissioned by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Industry, was established to make recommendations to address efficiencies in agricultural practice through new technology, emerging technology and barriers to the adoption of emerging technology.
Ms McGowan said the report includes 17 recommendations in four key areas, including:
- Telecommunications and data services
- Human Capital
- Coordination of Research and Development
“The report highlights the lack of access to internet services and mobile phone coverage, and recommends that the Federal Government commits to the continuation of the Mobile Black Spot Programme (MBSP) beyond Round Two. This is particularly relevant due to the lack of funding in the 2016-17 Budget for continuing the MBSP,” Ms McGowan said. “Another recommendation called for the Department of Communications and Arts to consider changes to the selection criteria to capture the telecommunication requirements of agricultural activity.”
“Access to education was also highlighted and the recommendation that the Federal Government target funding for the development of innovative education strategies for agriculture, within the current science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) funding program.”
Indi farmers had direct input to these recommendations. Out of 100 submissions made to the Inquiry, 15 were from Indi. Local groups, including the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project (AVDPP), Charles Sturt University, Rutherglen Premium Lamb and North East Catchment Management Authority, presented to the hearing in Wodonga in January 2016. Ms McGowan thanked Indi ag stakeholders for their submissions to the inquiry.
“This high representation showed the agriculture sector in Indi is being pro-active about the future, and the presentations to the committee were outstanding,” Ms McGowan said.
AVDPP hosted the Standing Committee during the public hearing in the North East, and is one of the most profitable dairy areas in Australia. The progressive dairy group works with the community, including Tallangatta High school students, council and other agencies, on a number of issues, including land management, and transition in and out of farming. “I was proud to showcase the impact the work AVDPP is having in the sector,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan thanked Committee Chair, Rowan Ramsey MP, fellow committee members and Secretariat for their work to help farmers increase productivity. The Smart Farming report is available online.
PUBLIC HEARING CONTACTS
Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project – Stuart Crosthwaite - 0427 289 515
Don Lawson OAM – 0418 972 141
Rutherglen Premium Lamb – Jenny Anderson – 0427 251 657