Federal government invests $260 million to improve satellite positioning; changes to benefit Wimmera farmers using GPS technology

IMPROVED: The federal government has promised to invest $260 million to improve satellite positioning across Australia, enabling farmers using global positioning system technology to access more accurate readings. File photo.
IMPROVED: The federal government has promised to invest $260 million to improve satellite positioning across Australia, enabling farmers using global positioning system technology to access more accurate readings. File photo.

WIMMERA broadacre farmers using global positioning system technology will soon have access to more accurate readings.

The federal government allocated $260 million in its 2018-19 Budget to improve the accuracy and availability of satellite positioning across Australia.

The funding will deliver a Satellite-Based Augmentation Strategy to improve the performance of positioning data from five metres to 10 centimetres.

Member for Mallee Andrew Broad welcomed the funding.

“This great news for our broadacre farmers across the Wimmera, Mallee and Mildura regions,” he said.

“It means that farmers will be able to get a more accurate readings from Australian satellites.”

The government will use $160.9 million of the investment package to create a Satellite-Based Augmentation System, which is foundation technology for GPS. 

It will also invest $64 million in the National Positioning Infrastructure Capability will complement SBAS to improve GPS to an accuracy as precise as 3cm in areas of Australia with access to mobile coverage. 

A further $36.9 million will go to Digital Earth Australia to provide access to standardised satellite data that identifies physical changes to the environment.

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the new technology would be used to increase productivity across the economy, including in the agriculture, construction and logistics industries. 

“We rely on satellite and GPS technology for just about every aspect of our lives - from Google Maps on our individual phones, through to air traffic control at the busiest airports,” he said.

“More precise technology will make Australian businesses more productive, safer and more efficient.

“More accurate GPS will improve productivity by allowing new technology to be created and used across the economy.

“Growing Australia’s digital economy will also benefit developed sectors such as mining, transport, construction, aviation and agriculture.

“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.”