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Woman using Auslan on a computerMinister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield, in response to an Australian Sign Language video question on the ABC’s Q&A program this week [at 35min 50sec], pledged that Australians who are Deaf, hearing and/or speech impaired will have the service they need when the Government implements the next National Relay Service (NRS) contract.

The issue raised by Deaf Australia CEO Kyle Miers, is that the current cost of providing the NRS is in excess of $32 million per annum and the recently released NRS request for tender has capped the service funding at $22 million per annum for the next three year.

The question of how a 30% reduction in funding can ensure services will continue on a 24/7 basis was asked on behalf of the Coalition of NRS Users Organisations;

  • Deaf Australia
  • Deafness forum of Australia
  • ACCAN
  • Communication Rights Australia
  • Deafblind Australia

"ACCAN continues to raise the concerns of our members over the future of the National Relay Service and we welcome the Ministers pledge" said Ms Corbin, ACCAN CEO.

Mr Miers asked Minister Fifield if he would pledge on National television that NRS users would not be worse off as a result of the current tender process. The Minister answered in the affirmative.

More information is available on the NRS24/7 website.  You can show your support for the NRS by signing the 'Save our NRS' petition.