The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has highlighted a number of communications priorities amid the federal election campaign, which it states it has raised with the major Australian political parties.ACCAN’s priorities encompass: communications affordability, future consumer protections, broadband performance monitoring, accessible ICT procurement and accessible programming on TV.
ACCAN states that it has sent the Liberal Party, the Australian Labor Party, the Nationals and the Greens “a series of questions to find out more on their policies as they relate to the issues”, with the questions posted on ACCAN’s election webpage, launched today.
“In the lead up to the 2016 federal election, ACCAN is highlighting important communications consumer priorities,” ACCAN acting CEO Narelle Clark commented.
“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.”
ACCAN identifies the priorities as:
– 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 stated.
“The priorities we are highlighting relate to ACCAN’s goal of available, affordable and accessible telecommunications services for all consumers.”