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education crunch « Previous | |Next »
December 7, 2007

I'm currently at Foster, a small town in south eastern Victoria just outside Wilson's Promontory. This is dairy country and the dairy farmers are doing it hard. There is little money in this kind of farming these days, and climate change is beginning to have a negative impact in terms of lack of water.

Tourism is beginning to provide some kind of alternative. The tourists are competing for internet access at the community centre, because it has high speed broadband.

Bill Leak

So the kids need an education that provides them with an alternative to farming. Rudd's computer on every school desk is a start, but who is going to teach the kids to be part of the creative industries--webdesigners, musicians photographers, programmers and computer game designers? How do the school kids develop the skills to become part of the information economy?

Though the primary and secondary schools teach computer skills many of the kids families don't have broadband at home--only dialup. The telephone lines are hopeless, Telstra's not upgrading them, and little of the Howard Government's broadband connect money made its way into the area. So many in the area, especially on the farms outside of the city, are still on dialup. Hence we have infrastructure bottlenecks.

Times are changing. The old low skilled jobs in the call centres and manufacturing are going overseas; whilst the costs of keeping the jobs in old industries--- such as mining, cotton farming, forestry and dairy farming---are rising cos of the lack of water in a warmed up world. Are the short-term gains (local jobs) in mining worth the long term costs (lack of sustainability)? Should local communities such as Orange provide free water to mining and forestry companies to ensure local jobs when this means that they need to sacrifice their drinking water or water for other industries (food processing plants) to do so?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:21 AM | | Comments (5)


Your comments on location are,I suspect,t ypical of what you would find in most of rural Australia. We are on broadband, but two of our close neighbours have been told "no go" by Teltra.

On the other hand our local TAFE is on B/B and has available an impressive array of skilled people who pass on their skills to local people.Lets be optimistic about this even if Telstra, if reported correctly, is being difficult or perhaps just hard to get, over cooperating with the Governments B/B plans.

Sol's recent statement is quite plausible. Why should they get involved in something that they cant control the pricing.

I am not sure that we will ever see high speed broadband in all country areas. It is an unattainable unviable pipe dream.

the Yanakie Caravan Park just outside Wilsons Promontory is on wireless broadband with Telstra. It's expensive with big charges for upload and download. So the time that I can spend on the internet is very limited. I buy 15 minute bits of time for $5.

People--eg,.the computer guy who set up the computers at the caravan park--- hates Telstra. He says they are getting worse not better.

What has happened to all the money for braadband connect for rural and regional Australia? Wasn't it mean to address this kind of issue?

why should Telstra be able to control the pricing? Aren't we aiming for competition in telecommunications, not monopolies

They should be able to control their investment is my point. I don't think anybody want to see monopolies.
I think the Government should just stick to subsidising the contractors that do the work on the ground and stay out of the rest.

The cartoon is very apt. We have had computers in schools now for a long time and the standard of graduating students is muted to be consistantly going down. So what is the conclusion? Are computers actually improving the level of intelligence or decreasing it? Are the 3 R's getting lost with all that comes with cyberworld?