The summary below outlines ACCAN’s activities from 1 June 2022 – 31 August 2022.

While continuing to engage in multiple consultations, there was a slight reprieve during the quarter because of the election and change in Government earlier in the year, with ACCAN making 11 submissions to government, regulator and industry consultations. This included our nbn Special Access Undertaking submission to the ACCC outlining priority issues impacting communications consumers across a multiplicity of our policy priority areas.

Several of our submissions have been formally supported and endorsed by ACCAN members during the period.  These include our Regional Mobile Infrastructure Inquiry 2022 submission, our submission to the NBN Special Access Undertaking (SAU) variation and our submission to the New National Cultural policy consultation.

Areas of impact this quarter are strong, with our engagement with industry regarding improved accessibility for consumers with disability resulting in a number of positive initiatives being adopted by Telstra. Additionally, a number of our recommendations regarding the review of sunsetting Pay Phone instruments have been incorporated into the new Pay Phone Determination.

This quarter saw the completion of all existing grants projects. All have now provided financial and project acquittals, rounding out a busy and successful time with our largest number of concurrent projects ever. The Grants team is now working with grantees on publishing final outputs, and doing initial planning for the 2023 Round.

Our commissioned research program has provided excellent insights into three new areas this quarter, with the additional omnibus survey that we undertook earlier in the year being turned into a series of snapshot reports on Australian consumers’ perspectives on several key issues for ACCAN’s work: affordability; free to air TV; public wi-fi and digital platforms. This nationally representative survey tested ACCAN’s policy priority areas.

ACCAN published 7 news stories this quarter. These included media releases about our Future of Broadband Policy Position, ACCAN’s submission to the initial NBN SAU, the ACCANect 2022 Annual Conference, and the Affordability Snapshot of our Consumer Check-in Research. Additionally, we published consumer education about the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2024 Review. ACCAN also ran a social media campaign to distribute information about gift card scams. This was the third such collaboration with Google.

ACCAN staff participated in a wide range of consumer, stakeholder, and industry engagement activities during the period.  Highlights included session briefings with a wide range of stakeholders involved in ACCAN’s forthcoming virtual conference ACCANect 2022.  The support for the conference from industry and regulatory bodies has been very positive and we were especially pleased to accept Optus’ request to be the Principal Partner for the conference.

Another highlight for the period was ACCAN’s CEO being invited to meet with Minister Rowland at Parliament House during the August sitting period.  The meeting covered a broad scope of topics outlined in ACCAN’s introductory letter to the Minister including regional and rural issues, Indigenous communications and digital inclusion. 

In early July ACCAN convened a broad group of stakeholders from industry, regulatory bodies, academics and members to discuss our Future of Broadband policy.  This was ACCAN’s first significant face-to-face event in over two years.  The feedback and insight from the group was extremely productive and provided the final detail to enable the policy to be launched. 

The Board met twice during the reporting period: 2 June and 18 August.  The Board approved ACCAN’s 2022-23 budget at the June meeting and the Auditor’s report for 2021-22 at the August meeting.  One additional life member was nominated by the Board for consideration by members at the AGM.

This quarter, ACCAN generated 94 media hits across national print, online, TV and radio. This is an average of 31 items per month.

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During this period, ACCAN responded to a total of 12 media enquiries. These covered a range of topics including the ACMA’s Scam Text Message Code, the Telstra/TPG Telecom network sharing deal, the ACCC’s August Measuring Broadband Speeds Report, and satellite internet services in the Kimberley. 

ACCAN proactively provided comments to the media on a range of other major issues including our Future of Broadband Policy Position, the Affordability Snapshot of our Consumer Check-In Research, the ACCANect 2022 Annual Conference, and ACCAN’s submission to the initial NBN SAU.