Hot Issues

Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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After a year of community calls for action, including those made Fair Calls for All superhero, Number Woman, the telecommunications regulator, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA), has proposed changes so that 1800 numbers will be free and 13/1300 numbers will cost about 30 cents to call from a mobile phone, just as they currently do from landlines.

Now’s the time to take action! The ACMA wants to hear from interested parties by this Wednesday 30th November. So far we've had over 750 people make a submission, and we've made it easy for you to share your story.

Send a message to the ACMA to say that you want Fair Calls For All. It only takes a minute or two!

Further background on the Fair Calls campaign

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ACCAN is seeking applications to fill a vacancy on its Standing Advisory Committee on Consumer Affairs (SACCA). ACCAN encourages applicants with expertise in telecommunications issues for regional, youth, small business or Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) consumers.

Applications close at 5pm on 21 December 2011. It is expected that the successful applicant will attend the next meeting of the SACCA on 8 February 2012 at the ACCAN office. The term of appointment will be from February 2012 to 30 June 2013.

1.                 Functions

The functions of SACCA are to:

·      Provide advice to the ACCAN Board and staff through the ACCAN CEO in relation to priority issues for communications consumers and suggest strategies to achieve positive outcomes.

·      Discuss emerging technologies and developments in Communications affecting consumers and identify potential relevance to ACCAN policies and activities.

·      Provide a commentary on relevant research to assist in the development of coordinated and unified consumer positions.

·      Act to bring information from consumers to the attention of ACCAN and to disseminate information from ACCAN to constituents.

2.                 Sitting fees and travel expenses

ACCAN will arrange and pay for travel and accommodation expenses incurred in attending meetings in accordance with our travel policy.

ACCAN will provide sitting fees to SACCA members for face-to-face meetings where they are not otherwise remunerated for their involvement or prevented from being remunerated elsewhere.

3.                  How to apply

In making appointments, the ACCAN Board will ensure to the extent possible, that SACCA reflects the diversity of the community.

The selection committee will meet in mid-January and a final decision is expected by the end of January 2012.

For full details on how to apply, the terms of reference and selection process please download the Terms of Reference and the Application Form below. Please email your application form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post to Suite 4.02, 55 Mountain Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007 by 5pm, 21 December 2011.

 

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ACCAN Chief Executive Teresa Corbin and Senior Policy Adviser Jonathan Gadir have given evidence in front of the Joint Committee: National Broadband Network (Rollout of the National Broadband Network) in Sydney this morning. They discussed the need for low-income broadband affordability measures, voice-only services and the demand for consumers for independent information about the NBN.

Earlier this year ACCAN published a NBN: Guide for Consumers, which Corbin says has been very much in demand. ACCAN says it looks forward to the establishment of a Consumer Advisory Panel within NBN Co, to meet quarterly to discuss issues that are of concern to consumers. 

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Once every three years the Department of Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy (DBCDE) undertakes a Regional Telecommunications Review, which considers whether people in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia have equitable access to telecommunications.

If your organisation is based in regional Australia, or you live in regional Australia, we’d love to hear your views via this short survey by 4 November 2011.

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ACCAN Chief Executive Officer, Teresa Corbin, delivered an address to the telecommunications industry at the CommsDay Congress in Melbourne on Wednesday 12th October. Her speech covered a range of subjects, including the history of consumer representation in telecommunications and its funding arrangements, an outline of the work ACCAN does, and why consumer representation in this area remains so vital.

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In establishing ACCAN in 2009, the government committed to conduct a review of ACCAN's performance after two years of operation. Having now reached that point, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) is keen to hear your views.

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Use social media? Have a disability?

If you do, then ACCAN and Media Access Australia (MAA) would like to hear from you.

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Congratulations to ACCAN's own Wayne Hawkins, who won a prestigious award at the 2011 Deafness Forum Captioning Awards held in Sydney last night.

Wayne was awarded the Roma Wood OAM Community Award for his contribution to changes that will see captioning quality standards enshrined in legislation. This is a great win, not only for ACCAN, but for all Australians who are Deaf or hearing-impaired, people who use captions in noisy environments, to learn English, or for any of the many reasons that captioning is in demand.

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ACCAN recently launched its Disability Action Plan which aims to make ACCAN a role model of best practice in accessibility. Some highlights of the Disability Action Plan are:

  • Improved accessibility to ACCAN premises and events
  • An updated website which conforms to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Level AA
  • Documents in accessible formats, such as Easy English, Auslan and audio.

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The global organisation representing consumer groups, Consumers International, is asking Australians to be part of their project aimed at holding internet service providers to account. You can help by taking part in the 10-minute online survey so we can see how Australia compares to the rest of the world for broadband services.

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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.

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New research published today examines the challenges faced by not-for-profit organisations in the Northern Rivers of NSW and their clients in relation to accessing information communications technology. The report, Another Barrier?, provides a snapshot of those living in regional areas who continue to struggle with the basics of availability, affordability, and accessibility of communications services.

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