The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has outlined five communications consumer priorities that need to be addressed at the 2016 Election.
According to the industry association, these include communications affordability, future consumer protections, broadband performance monitoring, accessible ICT procurement and accessible programming on TV.
ACCAN said it has raised these issues with the major Australian political parties (the Liberal Party, Australian Labor Party, the Nationals and the Greens) and has sent each party a series of questions to find out more on their policies as they relate to the issues.
ACCAN Acting CEO, Narelle Clark, further elaborated on the five priorities.
According to Clark, there needs to be a review of the Centrelink Telephone Allowance to ensure that low-income consumers stay connected. In addition, she recommended updated consumer safeguards for fixed-line services to ensure fast fault repairs, connection times and reliable services.
Clark also identified the need for an independent broadband monitoring program to allow consumers to compare broadband service performance by retailers.
She also addressed the need for accessible ICT procurement, in terms of the 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.
In addition, she added that 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 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.”
“We use telecommunications and the internet to stay connected to family and friends, to conduct business, access education and more. The priorities we are highlighting relate to ACCAN’s goal of available, affordable and accessible telecommunications services for all consumers,” she said.