A new review into rural and regional telecommunications has been welcomed by Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.

Mr Coulton said the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review: Getting it right out there document put forward 10 recommendations to improve access to telecommunications infrastructure, modernise consumer protections and ensure better digital inclusion, shining a light on digital agriculture and a thriving tourism industry.

“The Regional Telecommunications Review makes a strong case that the benefits of increased digital connectivity for rural and regional areas are immense,” Mr Coulton said. “It provides a pathway for the Government to improve regional telecommunications, including in the Parkes electorate, meaning better support for small businesses and reliable communications in times of emergency.”

“There are also benefits to industry. Economic modelling shows that digital agriculture could increase the value of our agricultural industries by $20.3 billion.”

“Improved telecommunication also drives a more successful tourism industry, in turn creating jobs.”

Mr Coulton said investment in regional telecommunications had proved valuable through more reliable services and strong uptake by business.

“Small business owners can more easily grow their enterprise with better telecommunications,” Mr Coulton said. “Connectivity also helps to strengthen local economies across my electorate.”

The Review follows public consultation sessions held right across Australia, including in Narrabri in July this year. More than 380 submissions were received from a range of individuals and organisations across the country.

It came as the Government reconfirmed its commitment to service reliability in rural and remote areas, with the Universal Service Guarantee ensuring all Australians had reasonable access to fixed voice and payphone services, with Telstra copper and wireless networks in rural and remote Australia being used for the provision of voice services in NBN fixed wireless and satellite areas.