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The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association has welcomed the $2 million funding commitment from the Federal Opposition to assist restore the ABC’s shortwave services, but the funding merely highlights a communication divide which impacts on the industry’s ability to capitalise on innovation.
The NTCA were highly critical of the ABC’s decision saying it ignored the critical communication needs of people living in isolation.
NTCA President Chris Nott said the decision to shut down shortwave is short sighted and typical of the ignorance of those making decisions in the cities have to the real needs of rural and regional Australia.
“What people take for granted in the cities is a luxury for those of us in the bush,” Mr Nott said. “We rely on the HF shortwave radio transmitters because we don’t have mobile and data coverage for AM and FM radio stations. The ABC can expand its modern day platforms all it likes but the truth is we don’t all have access to it and the ABC did not care at all about the impact of its decision.”
Mr Nott said shortwave merely demonstrated the communication divide between city and country. “People from south travelling through the Territory are often surprised at the lack of coverage but for us it is an unacceptable way of life,” Mr Nott said. “It also has serious economic impacts because while we do not have access to a constant stream of data beyond the homestead we cannot take economic advantage of the genuine innovation opportunities for production.”