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ACCAN continues to call for the adoption of audio description (AD) across the Australian free-to-air market.

What is audio description?

Audio description refers to a verbal commentary used to describe key visual elements of a television program, film, or live performance or event. Identification of speakers, description of gestures, facial expressions, locale, scene changes, and other visual content are narrated. If dialogue is present as part of the program or event, these narrations are inserted during breaks in the dialogue.

Our policy priorities are broad subject areas where ACCAN will develop proactive policy responses that will shape our engagement with stakeholders. ACCAN's mission is to represent consumers and the public interest, with particular emphasis on the needs of consumers for whom the market is not working.

Our policy priorities were developed in close consultation with ACCAN members, and informed by an 'environment scan' of the communications market and market trends.

After consulting with consumers and members ACCAN has developed its position to ensure all consumers can be connected consumers.

Connected consumers are able to do what they need through communication services. Without connected consumers there will be social isolation, reduced economic livelihood, insecurity and potential threat to safety. Focusing on connected consumers, allows us to ensure that communication services delivers for consumers, society and the economy.

Read the full article on Accessible ICT Procurement ACCAN is calling for a whole-of-government procurement policy for accessible ICT to enable Australians with disability to have greater opportunity for economic, social and community participation.

The Australian Commonwealth Government does not have a comprehensive procurement policy for the purchase of accessible information and communications technology (ICT). The negative roll-on effects of this policy gap have significant implications for the whole Australian community. In particular the ramifications of this ongoing policy gap continue to disadvantage and exclude some of our most vulnerable citizens with disability.

Read the full article on accessible programming on TVAustralians with disability need greater access to television. ACCAN is calling for the implementation of Audio Description on free-to-air television and increased captioning across commercial television networks.

Australians with disability continue to struggle to have meaningful access to television.

Young woman upset at phone billThe ACOSS Poverty in Australia 2014 report indicates that an estimated 2.55 million (13.9%) of Australians are living in poverty. Current Australian research indicates that many low-income consumers are facing financial barriers in getting connected and staying connected to essential telephony and broadband services. Research also indicates that low-income consumers are spending a significantly higher proportion of their income for telecommunications access.

Guage showing Megabits per secondBroadband plans are commonly advertised on headline speed claims which may only be achievable in ideal test conditions and are not what consumers should expect in real world everyday use. Claims are qualified with an elusive list of factors that can affect performance, but this is difficult for consumers to engage with or apply to their service. This issue is heightened with nbn and the promise of faster and better technologies and services.

Consumers being protected

ACCAN's policy position on a customer service and reliability standard

Access to reliable communication services is vital for Australian consumers and is essential for social and economic participation.

The 2015 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) found that existing safeguards (e.g. Customer Service Guarantee (CSG)) focused on delivery of the Standard Telephone Service (STS) were of "rapidly declining relevance."

This is due to the shifting consumer preference toward mobile and internet based communication. The Committee recommended the Australian Government, in consultation with industry and consumer groups, develop a new safeguard in the form of a Consumer Communications Standard.

This policy position addresses consumer concerns about existing customer service and reliability measures, and proposes a new model for the future. It is a step towards a new Consumer Communications Standard.

Our policy priorities are broad subject areas where ACCAN will develop proactive policy responses that will shape our engagement with stakeholders. ACCAN's mission is to represent consumers and the public interest, with particular emphasis on the needs of consumers for whom the market is not working.

Our policy priorities were developed in close consultation with ACCAN members, and informed by a detailed 'environment scan' of the communications market and market trends.

The first version of Our Broadband Future came out in 2010, but ACCAN is pleased to report that despite new government policy directions and many debates over recent years, the four key principles on broadband espoused in our original statement have stood the test of time:

    1. Broadband for all.
    2. No consumer should be worse off during the transition and following the implementation of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
    3. Robust consumer protections and consumer engagement.
    4. Sustaining a competitive and fair market.

ACCAN, along with a number of Australian disability organisations, recommend that all governments, businesses and organisations immediately remove all inaccessible CAPTCHAs from their websites and replace them with accessible alternatives.

ACCAN and CHOICE's joint position statement on mobile commerce outlines the key consumer protection principles for m-commerce in the Australian market.