One of the aspects of our big trip that has been quite obvious has been our reliance on the internet and also the lack of this essential broadband service in the outback.
We found this sign in "the" pub in Maree. The only cold beer that the pub had was in a bottle and they were awaiting their ice delivery for the week.
Granted it would cost the government a fortune to provide fast broadband to everyone in Australia, the reality is that Australia has many remote communities, indigenous and otherwise. Getting them connected to a reliable internet broadband service will change their lives forever. Not just from an education point of view but also from a health, financial and community point of view.
As a country we need to start to think creatively about services to ALL communities, rather than saying that it is all too hard and withdrawing support to these communities. It has been interesting to see how the influence of thinking outside the box has revealed tourism opportunities to facets of the outback that were long forgotten.
Increased services brings increased opportunities, and perhaps it is a socialist ideal that every school and community should have access to the same services. As a country we have the resources to do it. We are a rich nation who pays not enough tax for what we actually have. Our GST introduced in 2000 has not risen from 10% although an increase on services has increased.
Like it or not, the traditional industries that Australia relied such as farming and mining are dying. The knowledge economy is what will make this country strong. Remote schools should have access to more than the School of the Air to prepare their students for life in the 21st Century. Communities shouldn't have to shut up shop and move to the big cities to get these services.
Imagine if indigenous communities had the ability to converse in their native tongue between communities? Or perhaps they had the ability to share their culture nuances online with the world? What windows of opportunity would there be if we looked upon our first people as a blessing rather than a burden?