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Senator Stephen Conroy has today released the details of the Federal Government’s Review of Access to Telecommunications Services by People with Disability, Older Australians and People Experiencing Illness.

The Review will look at:

  • whether national relay and outreach services could be improved in the light of new technologies
  • what more can be done to assist National Relay Service (NRS) users and non-NRS users
  • how to build community, industry and government awareness of telecommunication access issues, and
  • how to communicate up-to-date information on telecommunication options and consumer rights.

The Review presents an opportunity to lobby for improved access to telecommunications for many Australians and to begin to bridge the digital divide that exists for many people in terms of their access to current telecommunications services.

The National Relay Service, for example, provides a fantastic service for people who are Deaf or who have hearing or speech impairments. However the way in which services are delivered are based on a model that is fifteen years old and there have been huge advancements in technology during the corresponding period. These advancements could provide better levels of communication and improve economic and social participation for people who have traditionally been excluded from the benefits of our rapidly changing telecommunications environment.

Services such as captioned telephony, video relay services and Total Conversation are all being utilised in comparable countries and this review offers us the opportunity to implement these best-practice models to ensure that all Australian consumers can participate equally in the telecommunications environment of the twenty-first century.

ACCAN will be working closely with its member organisations to make a detailed submission to the review. We encourage people with disability, older people, people experiencing illness, and their carers to participate in the review.

Click here to read the Review's Terms of Reference and information about how to make a submission.

At the recent Deaf Australia conference people were asked to share their stories about the National Relay Service and services issues they have encountered with the telecommunications industry. This video is a story that relates to a Deaf consumer and the problems they encountered with a mobile phone contract.

 

 

**Please note that this video contains no sound as it's produced for the Australian Deaf community.  It does contain English subtitles**