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Wednesday, 05 September 2012 13:44

Conroy promises to fund telecomms consumer body to 2017 Featured


Communications minister senator Stephen Conroy has commited the Gillard Government to funding the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) to the tune of $2m per year until 2017.

The commitment follows a review of ACCAN - founded in 2009 - on its performance in its first three years of operation and Conroy said the funding would enable ACCAN to broaden its role in line with the recommendations of that review.

The Government's review of ACCAN, released in May, called on it to: improve its representation of small business, its relationships with the industry and to better balance its representation of the interests of minority consumer groups with those of mainstream consumers.

ACCAN was formed from the merger of the Consumers Telecommunications Network (CTN) and a number of smaller, more specialised consumer telecoms bodies under an initiative kicked off by Conroy in 2008. The new funding is similar to that granted to ACCAN at is formation - an amount that was more than double the funding shared by CTN and numerous smaller consumer representative in previous years and at the top end of consumer representatives' aspirations for the new body.

Conroy - addressing ACCAN's annual conference in Sydney - said: "This review also marked a transition to a new phase of development for ACCAN. It is no longer a new organisation, finding its feet in the complex telecommunications world. ACCAN is now an established and important part of the landscape…

"The Review … made recommendations for ACCAN to build on its early successes. These include: broadening its advocacy work to ensure that all members of the community and small businesses are represented by ACCAN; developing its media presence and performance; and building a better industry engagement framework.

"This will reinforce ACCAN's role as a key player in the industry that is well connected to all of the key stakeholders…I'm delighted to see that ACCAN has already begun work on implementing these recommendations."

In line with the review's recommendations Conroy said ACCAN would stage its first Consumer-Industry Association Forum later this year. "The forum's main aims are to share priorities and identify areas of constructive engagement between industry and consumer representatives."

Conroy concluded: "In three short years ACCAN has established itself as a well-regarded and effective organisation representing telecommunications consumers. This is as a result of the hard work and commitment of the whole team at ACCAN and for that they are to be congratulated…I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at ACCAN for their hard work and dedication."

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