- Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts the Hon. Paul Fletcher and Nationals Senator Perin Davey visit Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga
The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts the Hon. Paul Fletcher, MP, and Nationals Senator Perin Davey were given a glimpse of the new age of farming at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
The visitors were given an overview on Thursday 5 November of Charles Sturt’s Digital Twin Farm, a fully integrated digital learning and research environment working within a full-scale, commercial, mixed farm operation.
The Digital Twin Farm will immerse students in AgTech to develop skills, knowledge and experience for the agricultural industry of the future, increase innovation and leadership, and attract more people to the industry.
It is anticipated the Digital Twin Farm will also attract public and private research and international collaboration, and fast-track farm adaptation to emerging challenges.
The visit comes after Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government the Hon. Mark Coulton visited Wagga Wagga with Senator Davey on Monday 12 October.
Charles Sturt’s Senior Research Fellow in Spatial Agriculture with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation Mr Jonathon Medway gave visitors a hands-on experience of the advanced technology being used and the practical applications to help every day farming practices.
Associate Head of the Charles Sturt of School of Computing and Mathematics and founder of Girls in Cyber Security Awareness (GiCSA) program Professor Tanveer Zia gave a presentation on the University’s cyber security research and teaching activities.
Charles Sturt’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Michael Friend said partnerships with government and industry bodies were key to the University implementing ground-breaking projects, such as the Digital Twin Farm.
“We are honoured to have Minister Fletcher and Senator Davey in Wagga Wagga today as we showcase our innovations for the digitally-enhanced future of agriculture,” he said.
“We have received support from industry leaders and interest from government representatives for this project, which will change the way we teach and conduct farming practices.”
Mr Fletcher said NBN Co’s recent Connecting Australia research on agriculture shows how connectivity, combined with the right digital technologies, could increase the agriculture sector’s gross value of production by $15.6 billion per year by 2030.
“High-speed broadband can be a game-changer for Australia’s rural industries,” he said.
“As the Minister for Communications with responsibility for broadband, I’m excited to be visiting Charles Sturt University’s Digital Twin Farm, which is at the cutting-edge of these important advances.”
Senator Davey said relationships between the government and universities is crucial to ensure the vitality of our country.
“It has been fantastic that the federal government has continued to have a partnership with universities around the country, including Charles Sturt University,” she said.
“Now more than ever it is vital that we work to strengthen and integrate our communication and agriculture industries, as our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This is going to be a great tool and resource and has the potential to be a game-changer for the agricultural industry.
“This project reinforces the importance of regional universities to undertake quality, practical research relevant to our regional industries like agriculture.”