Wednesday, 25 May 2016 22:22

ACCAN brings communications issues to election forefront

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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has joined the election fray to bring attention to communications affordability, future consumer protections, broadband performance monitoring, accessible ICT procurement and accessible programming on TV as priority issues it wants the political parties to focus on.

Launching its new federal election webpage on Wednesday, ACCAN poses questions on issues on the webpage which it has already put to the four the major Australian political parties – the Liberal Party, Australian Labor Party, the Nationals and the Greens. Answers from the parties will be added to the webpage – if and when they come in.

“In the lead-up to the 2016 Federal Election, ACCAN is highlighting important communications consumer priorities,” ACCAN acting chief executive Narelle Clark said.

“We are keen to understand where all the political parties stand on these issues and look forward to working with them to achieve outcomes for consumers.”

On the five areas that ACCAN has identified as priorities it wants answers on from the politicans, the consumer activist group says:

•    Affordability – a review of the Centrelink Telephone Allowance to ensure that low-income consumers stay connected;

•    Consumer protections – updated consumer safeguards for fixed-line services to ensure fast fault repairs, connection times and reliable services;

•    Broadband monitoring – an independent broadband monitoring program to allow consumers to compare broadband service performance by retailers;

•    Accessible ICT procurement – introduction by the Federal Government of a comprehensive policy to only purchase accessible ICT equipment and software so that consumers with a disability can access services

•    Accessible programming on TV – the Broadcasting Services Act should be amended to expand captioning requirements across all free-to-air channels, and for the introduction of audio description services across all free-to-air television so that all consumers get equal access to information and entertainment content.

“We use telecommunications and the internet to stay connected to family and friends, to conduct business, access education and more,” Clark said.

“The priorities we are highlighting relate to ACCAN’s goal of available, affordable and accessible telecommunications services for all consumers.”

To access ACCAN’s new webpage click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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