Wednesday, 14 November 2018 19:00

Greens want to fix NBN, protect digital rights and digital accessibility

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The Australian Greens political party has announced a "plan to fix NBN, protect digital rights and ensure our digitally-connected world is accessible", so what are the details?

NOTE: The Greens are launching this policy in Canberra from 7pm on 14 November - you can watch the event live here

The part has announced "a comprehensive plan to ensure Australian game developers, innovators, tech entrepreneurs, creatives, and artists have the support, environment, and infrastructure to flourish and every Australian enjoys strong safeguards for digital privacy, security and safety online".

The party's Digital Rights spokesperson, Senator Jordon Steele-John, will announce the policies at "an event tonight at Canberra Technology Park and will be joined by former Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and ACT Greens Lead Senate Candidate Dr Penny Kyburz".

Senator Steele-John said affordable, quality telecommunications were fundamental to the future of Australia’s economy, jobs, education, essential services and way of life.

“The Coalition’s "multi-technology mix" disaster had left many Australians without affordable or reliable services.

“The Greens will establish a Federal Telecommunications Concession, worth $1.3 billion, at a value of $60 per quarter and payable to all holders of a DHS Health Care Card to replace the limited telephone allowance, and an NBN migration program, worth $250 million, to help close the digital divide and enable all Australians to participate fully in our digital economy, society and government," he said.

“We are committed to fixing the NBN and ensuring all Australian’s have access to affordable and reliable high-quality internet and voice services for the 21st Century.”

Senator Steele-John boasted that the Greens were "the only party willing to fight for the digital rights of Australian people".

He added: “In the last few years we’ve seen a truly terrifying expansion of the powers of the Home Affairs Department aided by a compliant Labor Party more worried about appearing soft to voters than protecting our rights to privacy, security and safety online.

“Meanwhile we’ve seen the equally terrifying rise of surveillance capitalism and data-farming — pioneered by Facebook — that has already had a significant impact on democracies across the world.

“If we don’t make a concerted effort now to enshrine our digital rights in legislation and follow the lead of world leaders in this space — such as the recently enacted GDPR in the European Union — then we will never be able to wind back government overreach in this space.”

To ensure that the plan for the future is accessible and inclusive, the Greens say they "will announce $62.5 million to advance captioning, audio description, relay and translation services, establish a National Disability Telecommunications Service and create a safe, dedicated online platform for the promotion of discussion, debate and cultural development within the disability community".

ACT Greens Lead Senate Candidate Dr Penny Kyburz said, "It’s vital we elect people to our parliament who understand technology and creativity and the issues that are facing our changing work, education, and social landscape.

“It’s clear to me that there are very few people on any sides of our parliament with the knowledge or skills to keep up with changing technology, let alone look ahead and make a plan for the future.”

We're told "the announcement will also include updated costings of the Australian Greens plan to invest in the Video Game development industry which was announced earlier this year".

Here are some key points the Australian Greens have listed for its vision of the "21st Century NBN":

  • $1.3 billion to establish Federal Telecommunications Concession
  • $250 million NBN migration program to close the digital divide
  • Keep NBN infrastructure publicly owned
  • Finish the NBN using best-choice technology
  • Make quality telecommunications affordable for all Australians
  • Ensure regional telecommunications are funded, fair and fit for purpose 

Protecting digital rights:

  • Establish a Digital Rights Commissioner
  • Repeal the Mandatory Data Retention Scheme
  • Update and strengthen Australian privacy laws
  • Making our digitally connected world accessible
  • $58 million over four years to advance captioning, audio description, relay and translation services
  • $3.5 million over four years to establish a National Disability Telecommunications Service
  • $1.1 million over four years to establish a safe, dedicated online platform for the promotion of discussion, debate and cultural development within the disability community

Investing in Video Game Development Industry:

  • $100 million Games Investment & Enterprise Fund
  • Extend film and TV offsets to video game developers
  • $5 million creative co-working spaces fund

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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