Have your say on regional telecommunications issues (last month warning)

Mactiernan Alannah. Image supplied.
Mactiernan Alannah. Image supplied.

Australians living and working in regional, rural and remote communities are encouraged to have their say on telecommunications issues with submissions closing in under a month.

The Hon Alannah MacTiernan, Chair, Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, has also urged people to have their say via a short survey – and spread the word about the Review to friends, family and colleagues across regional Australia before it closes on 31 July.

The Committee, established to conduct the Australian Government’s Regional Telecommunications Review is examining the experiences of people in regional, rural, and remote parts of Australia and the suitability of their telecommunications services.

Residents, businesses and community organisations can make a submission or complete the survey, with the Terms of Reference outlining key issues for the Committee to examine. An issues paper has also been released to shape ideas.

The input of local communities will form an essential part of the Review – held once every three years – which will see the Committee deliver its recommendations to the government.

Previous Reviews have led to policy initiatives and programs such as the Mobile Black Spot Program and the National Audit of Mobile Coverage; all a direct ­result of community feedback.

The Terms of Reference, set by Federal Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, outline the key focus areas in the Review, including the:

  • opportunities for new and emerging technologies to strengthen telecommunications systems in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia,
  • effectiveness of existing government initiatives,
  • modernisation of the universal services arrangements,
  • strengthening telecommunications in natural disasters,
  • extent to which the needs of First Nations communities are being met.

The 2024 Review is chaired by the Hon Alannah MacTiernan, who served in federal, state, and local government. She is joined by Committee members Mr Ian Kelly, Ms Kristy Sparrow, the Hon Fiona Nash and Dr Jessa Rogers. 

“This opportunity comes around only once every three years and the strength of each Committee’s recommendations back to government – and the actions they take – are underpinned by the views of people living in regional, rural, and remote communities,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“People in regional, rural and remote Australia are relying on telecommunications services more than ever before and reliable, high-speed connectivity supports public safety, day-to-day business, social inclusion and access to essential health and education services.”

“I would encourage every regional Australian to tell their friends, family, and colleagues about this opportunity and to get their own views in ahead of the closing date in a few short weeks,” she added.

The Committee will report to Minister Rowland by 31 December 2024.

For more information on the Review, to make a submission, or to complete the survey, visit: https://www.rtirc.gov.au/consultation

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