Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

Phones and the Internet: Your Rights in Australia

Phones and Internet: Your Rights in Australia is a project by the Footscray Community Legal Centre (FCLC) that provides education materials designed for refugees and new migrants to help understand the telecommunications market in their first six months of residing in Australia. The project was funded under the 2011 round of the ACCAN Grants Scheme. 

Background

The project came to fruition due to a 2011 FCLC and ACCAN report, Taking Advantage of Disadvantage: Case studies of refugee and new migrant experiences in the communications market. The FCLC also began a Refugee Financial Counselling Service in 2010, which saw many visits from refugee and new migrant clients who had little or no knowledge of their rights when dealing with contracts, bills, and contacting their telecommunications service provider. 

Education materials

A DVD containing PowerPoint lesson plans was produced using photographs and simple explanations. The lessons, designed to be delivered in workshops, contain an introduction to concepts such as pre-paid and post-paid mobiles, internet data usage and what to consider when signing up to a new service. Basic consumer rights and self-advocacy messages about where, how and when to get help were also included.

The materials have been distributed to Australian Multicultural Education Services (AMES) teachers, community guides and a number of settlement agencies. A presenter was also made available to targeted communities and their leaders. In addition, FCLC arranged meetings with key agencies, such as the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), in order to advocate for the importance of the project and DVD and to reiterate the need for change in regulation regarding greater consumer protection for refugee and new migrant clients.

Project outcomes

Feedback from community educators and participants has been positive, including an overall recognition that the materials avoid complexity by using photos and easily understood concepts. This is encouraging, as most settlement agencies stress that training materials need to recognise their clients’ limited English language and numeracy skills.

FCLC and ACCAN will make the DVD available for community legal centres and financial counsellors around Australia. Please contact us if you would like a copy. 

All materials are also readily available online at: http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/4156.htm

Download: Phones and the Internet: Your Rights in Australia [Word Document - 275 KB]

Download: Phones and the Internet: Your Rights in Australia [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 500.03 KB]