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Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the ACCAN will be held via virtual meeting, on Thursday 24th September 2020 from 4.00pm.

ACCAN AGM

Date: Thursday 24th September 2020

Time: 4:00pm (AEST)

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Zoom – Please register from here by 22nd September 2020.

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At ACCAN, issues relating to accessibility have always been at the forefront of our policy and consumer education efforts. After celebrating our 10th birthday and reflecting upon the positive changes that we had successfully advocated for, we started contemplating what accessibility improvements ACCAN would like to see in the communications sector in 2020 and beyond. We considered the existing communications issues affecting people with disability and wondered what issues may arise in the future.

From this, ACCAN started developing an Ideal Accessible Communications Roadmap in consultation with the disability sector. Towards the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we sought feedback from a range of organisations supporting people with disability. We asked about the top three communications issues that were currently affecting people with disability, the top three communications issues that contributors thought would affect people with disability in the future, and suggestions for possible solutions to address these existing and anticipated communications issues. Through email conversations, phone calls and group brainstorming sessions, we received responses from 35 organisations, including Disabled Peoples Organisations, advocacy groups and disability service providers, as well as nine individuals with disability who offered their own personal insights of their lived experience.

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ACCAN is seeking nominations for Directors to fill three (3) vacancies on its Board.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution, the 2020-2021 ACCAN Board will consist of nine (9) members1. Six (6) positions are continuing Directors from the 2019-2020 Board. Three (3) Directors are retiring from the Board but may be eligible for re-election as stated in the ACCAN Constitution.

In accordance with the ACCAN Constitution Board members are elected for a three year term.

In order to ensure an appropriate balance, the Board is particularly seeking candidates with legal and regulatory expertise; and/or experience in financial management and governance in a not for profit organisation; and/or an understanding of the issues affecting young consumers; and/or small businesses.

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Following a competitive application process, ACCAN is pleased to announce the successful Grants for 2020.

This year’s projects will explore a range of issues relevant to communications consumers, including how to protect children’s privacy when using apps, regional and rural consumers’ understanding of smart technologies, and the accessibility of video on demand services, among others.

The ACCAN Grants Program funds projects which undertake research on telecommunications issues, represent consumers or create educational tools which empower consumers to derive the greatest benefit from telecommunications products and services.
Research and outcomes achieved by Grants projects inform ACCAN's work and contribute to the broader evidence base for consumers, regulators and service providers in the telecommunications market.

The successful projects are listed below. For more information on the projects, visit the current Grants page.

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Sue Salthouse recieving her ACCAN life memebrshipACCAN board and staff are deeply saddened by the passing of Sue Salthouse.

Sue was a dedicated advocate for people with disability and made huge contributions to improving the accessibility of telecommunications for people with disability in Australia.

Prior to becoming a member of the inaugural ACCAN Board, Sue was on the Telecommunications Consumer Representation Working Group which developed the proposal for the creation of ACCAN. Sue served as Chairperson following ACCAN’s first AGM in 2009 and stayed on as a member of the board until 2012. Sue also offered support to ACCAN’s Standing Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, as Chair of the Committee from 2009-2010. In recognition of her pivotal and enduring commitment to communications consumers, Sue was awarded ACCAN Life Membership in 2019.

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As the peak body for rural and remote health in Australia, the National Rural Health Alliance has been a vocal supporter of telehealth and the many benefits that it can bring, especially for those outside of metropolitan areas.


In the wake of COVID-19, we spoke to Dr Gabrielle O’Kane, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance to hear about how people in regional, rural and remote Australia were adapting to telehealth and what the future may hold for this technology-driven approach to healthcare.

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COVIDSafe app

ACCAN responded to the draft Bill1 regarding the COVIDSafe app in collaboration with 17 organisations flagging concerns of consumer groups across the fields of health, technology, privacy, human rights, digital inclusion, communications and community interests.

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Disability informationWhere do I go for help?                             

Disability Information Helpline


The Australian Government has launched a new Disability Information Helpline for people with disability, their families, carers, support workers and services who need help because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have a COVID-19 related question and do not know where to start, you can contact the Helpline from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST) in the following ways:

  • Phone (free call): 1800 643 787
  • If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.

 

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Telco Customer Service ChangesCall centres for Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, ALDI Mobile, and some other telcos have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. This means that there is likely to be extended wait times if you contact their customer support teams via phone or instant chat.

TPG has closed their call centre support so you will need to contact them through the online chat support.

Belong have also closed their call centre and are working at a reduced capacity. They have advised it may take over 48 hours to respond to requests for support. More information about supports available is available on their blog.

Dodo are encouraging customers to continue using self-help features however they do have calls operating again, with reduced operating hours. More information is available on Dodo's website.

Telcos have asked customers to use self-service channels (such as the My Optus app, the Telstra 24x7 app, or MyVodafone) to trouble-shoot their issues where possible.

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