Period: 1 December 2022 – 28 February 2023

This quarter saw a steady stream of representation and engagement activities, while continuing to progress proactive policy work.

ACCAN’s submissions included responses to Treasury, the ACCC and the Department. Stakeholder engagement focused on regulatory consumer protections and the forthcoming TCP Code review. ACCAN’s inclusion team engaged closely with people with disability in the ongoing implementation of ACCAN’s Ideal Accessible Communications Roadmap.

ACCAN finalised policy positions on a Retail Registration Scheme and an Independent Plan Comparison Tool. In other advocacy work, ACCAN has met with government, industry and regulatory representatives on issues as diverse as affordability, domestic and family violence and First Nations digital inclusion.

The impact of ACCAN’s policy work has been observed in revisions to the Special Access Undertaking (SAU) and Telecommunications (Infringement Notice penalties) Determination being consistent with ACCAN recommendations.

ACCAN continues to be approached for expert advice with issues of interest this quarter including the Australian SMS ID Registry, the Queensland Digital Inclusion Plan and the Regional Connectivity and Mobile Blackspot program. NBN Co. has invited ACCAN to participate in their upcoming Low Income and Digital-Inclusion Forum.

The 2023 Round of the Independent Grants Program launched in January, with 46 applications received. With the Department’s prompt approval of Guidelines, we received a higher number of enquiries earlier, resulting in improved feedback and opportunity for applicants to develop their project ideas in line with ACCAN’s strategic goals.

ACCAN’s Affordable Devices commissioned research has identified more than 100 offers for people to access free or reduced-cost devices. ACCAN is now preparing this work for publication.

ACCAN published two news stories this quarter covering the Government’s announcement of unmetered monthly data for SkyMuster users and ACCAN’s call for a Retail Registration Scheme. This release received coverage in Commsday and was supported by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

In the second half of 2022 ACCAN updated some processes to more closely align its membership attraction, retention and engagement with our policy work.  This is starting to realise some positive outcomes with our stakeholder engagement initiatives.

ACCAN staff participated in 61 different outreach, engagement and member events. Pleasingly, a number of new and renewed engagements were secured this period.  This is a reflection of the closer alignment of our membership and policy functions.

ACCAN has welcomed the opportunity to engage with the Minister and the Department on a range of initiatives during the period including the Minister’s roundtable on First Nations Digital Inclusion, the Government’s consultation on the Better Connectivity Plan for Regional and Rural Australia, the ACCC’s Regional Mobile Infrastructure Inquiry and the National Anti-Scams Centre. 

Preparation for the TCP Code review continued with a range of industry and regulatory body meetings.

ACCAN finalised the co-option of 2 Board Directors during the period, with Dr Scott Hollier accepting the role in December 2022 and former ACCC Deputy Chair, Ms Delia Rickard PSM, joining in February 2023.  Both co-opted terms will expire at ACCAN’s 2023 AGM.

Discussions regarding Accessible Telecoms funding continued, with relevant parties indicating that progress is being made.

ACCAN was interviewed by media 6 times this quarter, 5 of which appeared on radio and TV. These included interviews on Christmas scams, extending the USO to mobiles, telcos blocking 90 million scam texts, Telstra’s Priority Assistance, and the Government’s ongoing work to stop scams. In the last six months, scams have dominated the nationwide news cycle.

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