Budget 2018-19: GPS to boost smart farming

Budget Boost: Next wave of on-farm technology gets a boost in the Federal Budget for 2018-2019. Photo: Supplied.
Budget Boost: Next wave of on-farm technology gets a boost in the Federal Budget for 2018-2019. Photo: Supplied.

While there were no new wins for the mobile blackspot program in the Budget, there is good news for the advancement of GPS technology and satellite data.

More than $260 million will be invested to develop satellite technology.

Minister for Resources Matt Canavan said GPS technology was used for everything from Google Maps on phones to smart farming systems meaning more precise technology would make businesses more productive, safer and more efficient.

"Growing Australia's digital economy will also benefit developed sectors such as mining, transport, construction, aviation and agriculture," Mr Canavan said.

The $161m package will deliver a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) - this is the technology underpinning GPS - to improve the reliability and accuracy of positioning data from five metres to 10 centimetres across Australia and its maritime zone.

A $64m investment in the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability (NPIC) will work with SBAS to improve GPS to an accuracy as precise as 3cm in areas of the country with access to mobile coverage.

"Our investment in this world-standard technology will have direct benefits including virtual fencing for farms and better management of cattle and livestock over vast distances," Mr Canavan said.

"The increased reliability provided by better GPS will improve safety for aircraft flying into regional and remote aerodromes, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service fleet."

A further $36.9m is for Digital Earth Australia, techonology to give businesses greater access to realiable, standardised satellite data that identifies physical changes to the Australian environment.

"This data will help researchers, governments and business better understand environment changes, such as coastal erosion, crop growth and water quality," Mr Canavan said.

"For example, information drawn from satellites is vital to help graziers increase the capacity of paddocks and make their farms more viable and sustainable."

The Government's $60m commitment to the Mobile Black Spot program will continue unchanged without additional funding.