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Summary of ACCAN's activities from 1 September to 30 November 2014.

ACCAN Conference

A major focus of our work in quarter 4 was the well-attended ACCAN conference, Connecting Today's Consumer. The conference emphasised the issues for mainstream consumers such as coverage, contracts, small business and privacy. We were also excited to launch the Digital Ready digital business kit, and to announce the winners of the first Apps For All Challenge. More than 200 attendees from over 50 organisations were present, and for the first time all three major telecommunications service providers sponsored the conference.

Consumer representation and research

During the quarter ACCAN submitted eight formal submissions to government and industry consultations. These submissions focused on issues such as competition, the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code, copyright and the Internet Industry Spam Code.

The ACCAN National Survey results and our Mobile Apps Consumer Attitudes and Experiences research were both launched during the quarter. A major research project with Deakin University to investigate how well consumers understand information they are given by telecommunications providers is in development.

ACCAN Grants Scheme

Quarter 4 saw the acquittal of two projects from the previous Round, and one project submitting a significant report in the creation of standards for website translations in Auslan. This work represents a shift in the benchmarks for translation and represents a major piece of work in the sector. The scheme's Guidelines have been reviewed and approved ready for the 2015 Round.

Two projects from the 2013 Round – Homeless and Connected and What's ya Story – have been acquitted in full. The Homeless and Connected research has also been presented at various academic and communications industry conferences, with more conference presentations confirmed for 2015, including one in Montreal, Canada.

Consumer education

Throughout the quarter, ACCAN worked to educate consumers on telecommunications issues that affect them by providing tips and advice on a range of matters. Strong relationships with industry, regulatory bodies, consumer organisations and media has helped ACCAN promote key messages about mobile phone plans, mobile data sharing, small business and excess data charges.

During the quarter ACCAN published seven news stories and sent five targeted member emails. Our news stories are promoted in our far reaching newsletter, WebNews and through our 2,500+ followers on Twitter.

Stakeholder engagement

ACCAN has finalised a review of its Consultation Framework which will ensure a much broader and more flexible approach to stakeholder engagement. A new Members Advisory Forum, Disability Advisory Forum, Indigenous Advisory Forum and Small Business Advisory Forum will replace the SACCA and the SACDI. Our Expert Advisory Committee on Deregulation will continue to support our work on this area.

ACCAN staff continue to build relationships with stakeholders through consultations and relevant industry events. We have regular liaison with representatives from Telstra, NBN Co, Optus, Vodafone, Communications Alliance and other relevant stakeholder. ACCAN's Deputy CEO participated in an international panel presenting the consumer perspective of the Internet of Things at the Internet Governance Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Governance and operations

The ACCAN Board met in November 2014. At the meeting Johanna Plante and Holly Raiche were re-elected as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson respectively. The Board's four standing committees were reconstituted and the Finance & Audit committee reviewed the delegation schedule. The Board also participated in a training day and an Indigenous cultural awareness activity.

The ACCAN Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 17 September and a new auditor was appointed. A ballot was held after three Board vacancies were advertised. Johanna Plante and Nigel Waters were both re-elected as directors and Victoria Rubensohn joined the ACCAN Board for a first term. Marcus Wigan concluded his term on the Board.

Media

ACCAN generated 296 media mentions during the quarter across online, print, TV and radio. This was a significant increase on last quarter's 134 mentions and is well above our monthly target.

Nine media releases were issued during the quarter. ACCAN provided comments on issues such as excess data complaints, the launch of the iPhone 6, calls to 1800 numbers from mobile phones, data retention and real-time data usage alerts.

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