Hot Issues

Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Unwanted text messages can be incredibly annoying, especially when it feels like you can’t do anything to stop them. However, some text messages can be sent with the intent to cause harm and need to be treated with caution.

Scamwatch reports that Australians lost over $1.4 million to scam text messages in January alone. According to that report, text messages are now the most popular method for scammers to target people. While both the government and the telecommunications industry have announced that they’re looking into solutions for this problem, there are still a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.

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Grandson helping grandmother find ways to stay connectedStruggling with the cost of your internet or phone service? ACCAN has put together a list of telco offers to help targeted groups stay connected.

As this list only shows offers for targeted groups, there may be alternative products and services out there for general consumers that meet your needs, so it’s also worth comparing plans. To do so, head to an online comparison site, such as WhistleOut or Finder. ACCAN has also prepared a money saving guide with tips to reduce your telco bill.

If you are unable to meet your bills and are in financial hardship, check out ACCAN’s hardship portal for more information on what you can do.

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A person putting a ballot paper into a ballot box

 

With a federal election looming, Australia’s major parties have each outlined their communications policies.

Below is a summary of the Coalition (Liberal and the National parties), Labor, and the Australian Greens’ policies and priorities as voters begin heading to the polls.

[Information last updated on 22.04.22]

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Image of a fire truck, police officers and a police car responding to an incident on a road

What is Advanced Mobile Location, or AML? 

Advanced mobile location, or AML, is a technology that has recently been introduced in Australia for the Triple Zero Emergency Call Service after previously rolling out in Europe, the UK and New Zealand. In an emergency, lives can depend on timely, accurate information. AML is designed to provide Emergency Call Service operators with precise location coordinates when a caller dials Triple Zero from a mobile, which removes some of the confusion that can come with trying to communicate your exact location.

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Reliable communications services have never been more important. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that staying connected to friends and loved ones has never been more crucial, while a string of natural disasters have shown that phone and internet services are essential when it comes to recovery efforts and community rebuilding.

In August 2021, Telstra announced that any standard national mobile calls from ‘payphones’ would be made free. For many people, especially people living in capital cities, it might be difficult to remember the last time you needed to use a payphone. While not everyone has to rely on them to stay connected, payphones are still a very important service for many people, especially those that find themselves in need of a freely available form of communication.

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ACCAN 2022 CommsDay Congress Speech
Andrew Williams – Acting CEO


CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY


Good morning,

Before I begin today, I’d like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land on which we meet today, the Peoples of the Kulin Nation. I also pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

For those who don’t know me I’ve been with the organisation for just under three years now, initially as Director of Operations and Deputy CEO role, and moved into this role when Teresa Corbin departed last October.

After more than two years of zoom and teams meetings it’s great to be here in person and see some familiar faces in 3D for the first time.

My ACCAN journey has provided a great opportunity to gain an understanding of the myriad issues in this space and I’m committed to our ongoing mission of ensuring that communications services are trusted, inclusive, and available for all.

As many of you are no doubt aware, for many years ACCAN has represented consumers on a wide range of issues which are encapsulated in our priorities:

  • Increased reliability
  • Improved accessibility
  • A fairer telco market
  • Affordable telecommunications
  • Better infrastructure
  • Growing consumer confidence

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Disinformation and misinformation are not new trends; digital content that is verifiably false, misleading, or deceptive has been around for almost as long as the internet has existed. However, over the last few years, we’ve seen growing awareness about the harms that disinformation and misinformation can cause to individuals and to trust in our systems.

After the ACCC’s Digital Platform Inquiry report was handed down in December 2019, the Australian Government asked digital platforms to develop a voluntary code of practice to help to address disinformation and misinformation.

In February 2021, DIGI, the non-profit industry association advocating for the digital industry in Australia, released The Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation. Digital platforms that sign up to this Code agree to abide by a set of rules, including publishing and implementing policies on misinformation and disinformation, providing users with a way to report content against those policies, and implementing a range of measures to reduce the spread and visibility of mis- and disinformation. They must also produce annual transparency reports about these efforts.

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Planning on heading away with family or friends this summer?

With many Aussies choosing to holiday at home this year, travelling to rural, regional or remote areas can be a great idea for people wanting to escape the bustle of the city. However, city-dwellers who haven’t travelled into remote parts of the country before may not be aware of the things you have to consider when it comes to staying somewhere new.

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Christmas presents wrapped in red and white paper, under a Christmas tree

With devices being brought out more and more frequently with new and exciting features, new tech can make for great gifts for relatives and friends who need a new device/s. However, phones, tablets, laptops or gaming devices can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re taking a few key things into consideration before purchasing these items as gifts.

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A young girl sitting on the floor, using an iPhone.

According to the eSafety Commissioner, 26% of kids and 75% of teens are using Facebook, and 24% of kids and 70% of teens are on Instagram. The stats are similar across various other social media sites and digital platforms, particularly as we’re seeing social media become the main form of communication for young people. 

With more and more children using social media as their main form of communication, it’s important to consider what parents can do to keep them safe online. 

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NetThing 2021 Speech by ACCAN Acting CEO – Andrew Williams


- CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY –

Building trust is a slow process. One that takes time, ongoing effort, and maintenance.

Conversely, losing trust can happen in an instant. One bad call, one misstep, and years of cultivating trust can be in jeopardy.

According to the 2021 Edelman Australia Trust Barometer, social media companies are the least trusted of all industries, falling well behind telecommunications, and even financial services.

The 2021 report shows that technology companies were the only industry to lose trust from 2020-2021, rather than gain it from Australians.
As the consumer voice for communications consumers, these statistics are not shocking or surprising to ACCAN.

We engage with consumers and advocates daily who express concern about a wide range of issues from misinformation spreading online that impacts their communities, to cyber abuse, to being unaware of their rights when using digital platforms.

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An image of a home office set up, along with a desktop computer, a laptop and a mouse. Working from home has become an environment that many of us have become familiar with recently. However, home offices often aren’t set up as effectively as usual places of work. This means you may
not be able to guarantee access to the internet all the time, or that you may not have the speeds you need to work efficiently. Below are some steps you can take to ensure that you have the best possible working from home set up.

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