Last week ACCAN's CEO, Teresa Corbin, and Director of Policy, Una Lawrence, travelled to the Electorate of Indi (northeast Victoria) to meet with residents and discuss issues around telecommunications services.
ACCAN was invited to attend community meetings and a meeting with local government representatives and businesses by Indi's Federal Member of Parliament, Cathy McGowan. Meetings were held in Beechworth, Wangaratta, Benalla and Oxley.
The issues experienced by residents are not unique to Indi and are experienced by many living in rural and remote areas. Availability and accessibility of quality communications services are key focus areas of ACCAN's work.
If you haven't already registered for the ACCAN Conference you can still take advantage of early bird pricing until Friday, 31 July! Head to the Conference website to register now.
As you may already know, this year's Conference, Dollars and Bytes – Communications affordability now and tomorrow, focuses on the key issue of affordability. This is an issue that affects all consumers.
The program for the two days (1-2 September) is shaping up to be one of our best yet. Some highlights will include:
The Regional Telecommunications Review is an opportune time to take stock of telecommunications policy in Australia. Whether it is an oversubscribed interim satellite service or a Universal Service Obligation that hasn't been brought into the 21st Century, regional consumers are frequently left with shocking network performance and few avenues for redress.
ACCAN often hears the horror stories about regional communications. From a farmer in rural WA who despite successive 'repairs' had to hold his landline handset 10cm away from his ear to hear over the static; to the outdoor recreation business which may soon have to close after a loss of customers due to an unreliable booking phone line; and the school children who have to stop lessons 20 days into the month because their restrictive satellite data quota has been used up.
Last week the Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA) and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) hosted an Indigenous Focus Day in Darwin, Northern Territory. The event took place alongside the Broadband for the Bush Forum IV. It attracted 75 participants and focused on identifying the obstacles to digital inclusion and the opportunities that arise from being connected. Participants were representatives from the Indigenous community, as well as delegates from community organisations from across Australia.
The Focus Day consisted of an opening address from Joe Morrison, CEO of Northern Land Council, some shorter presentations and facilitated breakout sessions. Key themes explored were affordability, accessibility, awareness and appropriateness of telecommunications services. The breakout sessions featured speakers covering topics such as costs of phone plans, satellite internet services, broadband for schools and how technology is improving the lives of remote Indigenous communities.
Nominations for Directors to fill three vacancies on the ACCAN Board are now open. Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 3rd August, 2015.
In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2015-16 ACCAN Board will consist of nine members. Six positions are continuing Directors from the 2014-2015 Board. Three Directors are retiring from the Board but will be eligible for re-election as stated in the ACCAN Constitution.
In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution Board members are eligible for a three year term.