The Australian Federal Government’s Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee has released its Issues Paper and initial schedule of public meetings for the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.
Chair of the Committee, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, said the Review, which occurs once every three years, helps set the Australian Government’s regional telecommunications agenda for coming years.
“Telecommunications is at the core of everything we do – from the way we interact socially, to the work we do, to using critical services like telehealth and education, accessing government information, and contacting emergency services,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“This has only been underlined for us by COVID and recent bushfires, floods and cyclones.
“My committee and I will be providing a report card as to the state of play in regional telecommunications. We will also be providing recommendations to government as to ways in which services in regional areas can be improved, including the use of new and emerging technologies.”
Mr Hartsuyker said the Issues Paper sets out key areas of interest for the Review.
“First and foremost is the adequacy of the telecommunications services people in regional, rural and remote Australia use on a day to day basis,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“We’re also focussing on the impact of Government policies and programs, insights from COVID-19, emerging technologies, service reliability, regional development, coordination between tiers of government and the quality of consumer information.”
Public consultations have been initially scheduled for Emerald and Longreach in Central Queensland and Normanton on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Details on further events will be made available shortly, noting the need for flexibility given COVID-19 precautions.
“I would encourage residents of these regions to attend their local session. The Committee intends to hold online consultations as well, and written submissions are welcomed,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
The Issues Paper, consultation dates, and details on how to make a submission can be found at www.rtirc.gov.au. Written submissions should be lodged by Thursday, 30 September 2021.
The Committee is the Hon Luke Hartsuyker (chair), Ms Sue Middleton, Ms Kristy Sparrow, Professor Hugh Bradlow, and Mr Michael Cosgrave. It must report to Government before 31 December 2021. The Committee can also be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org