Community invited to have say on telecommunications issues

COMMUNITIES across Port Stephens and the Myall Coast can now have their say on telecommunications issues as public submissions open on the Federal Government’s Regional Telecommunications Review.

The Government says the input of local communities will form an essential part of the Review – held once every three years – which will see the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee deliver recommendations on telecommunications issues.

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“The Review is closely examining the experiences of people in regional, rural, and remote parts of Australia with telecommunications delivery, as well as considering the unique needs of First Nations communities,” the Federal Government stated last week.

Residents, businesses and community organisations can make a submission, with the Terms of Reference – announced by Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP – outlining key issues for the Committee to examine.

An issues paper has been released to help frame ideas.

“We are focused on how the universal service arrangements could be modernised to meet today’s needs, the potential of emerging technologies, the effectiveness of existing Government investment programs, and the improvement of telecommunications in emergencies.

“Feedback from the public has been essential in previous reviews to ensure the Committee’s recommendations are well-targeted and based on evidence,” the Government said.

For this Review there are three options available to have your say: attending a face-to-face consultation, providing a formal submission or completing a survey.

The survey will be published in May 2024.

Since March 2024, the Committee has visited Western Australia and Tasmania for face-to-face consultations with local issues also forming an important part of the Committee’s considerations. More locations for face-to-face consultations will be announced shortly.

The 2024 Review is being led by the Hon Alannah MacTiernan, former Western Australian Minister for Regional Development as Chair of the Review Committee.

She is supported by the Hon Fiona Nash, Ms Kristy Sparrow, Dr Jessa Rogers and Mr Ian Kelly.

“Access to telecommunications services is critical for regional residents and businesses across so many aspects of everyday life – and we want to understand the lived experience of these services so that future policy actions are well-targeted and backed up by evidence,” said Ms MacTiernan.

“With technology changing rapidly we also want your ideas about how things can be improved and what would make the most difference for you and your community.

“We really encourage Australians in the bush to have their say via a submission or completing the survey in coming months, while we continue our face-to-face consultations across the country.

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