Regional Development Australia - Wheatbelt
An Australian Government Initiative

Wheatbelt Digital Action Plan - 2017 Revision Released

The results of the RDA Wheatbelt 2017 survey illustrated, people’s utilisation of digital technology has become more gradually nuanced and sophisticated as specialised technologies have become available or more user friendly. An indication of this is the uptake of weed/pest/disease management apps within the agribusiness sector. In 2012, these apps were not available but in the intervening years the availability of the apps has moved from non-existent or highly limited to widespread, generating a parallel consumer demand that was reflected by the 75% of agribusiness participants that were using the products.

 

Business participants exhibited a mounting awareness of the constraints that the less than adequate digital connectivity imposes on their businesses. The same could be said from an education standpoint with a sizeable proportion of parents indicating that reliable digital connectivity influenced their decision on where their children would complete secondary schooling. Their response posits the concept that poor connectivity is contributing to the migration of school and post school age youth from the Wheatbelt to the city. Therefore it could be plausible, as participants responses suggested, that better and more reliable connectivity would go some way to reducing the levels of education migration in the region.
 
In essence digital telecommunications are effectively the 21st century equivalent of the rail and road networks and are or could be delivering the same economic and social impacts to the region that rail and road delivered in the 19th and 20th centuries. That being the case, any shortcomings or inadequacies in the digital delivery systems has the potential to negate the best efforts of the Wheatbelt’s business owners and other invested stakeholders to develop and expand businesses, create employment and drive population growth in the region. Therefore it remains incumbent on RDAW, WDC and other government organisations along with all levels of government with vested interests in the Wheatbelt to facilitate the funding and investment needed to ensure the region has reliable digital connection.