TelecommsThe Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN),  South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) and Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) have collaborated in a effort to push the Federal Government to help low-income consumers have better access to telecommunication services, an ACCAN media release reports.

New data has revealed that people who are on a minimal income face high amounts of telecommunication exclusion through the Centrelink Telephone Allowance (CTA) program, which reveals a lack in entitlements for low-income consumers. The CTA program entitles low-income earners to supported payments which can maintain their ability to remain connected to telecommunication services which can be a substantial expense.

In a joint venture as part of a research project on telecommunication affordability for low-income consumers conducted by ACCAN and SACOSS, ACCAN, FCA and SACOSS are asking for a thorough review of the CTA, which indicates disparities in the services provided to low-income earners. Following a survey of 523 Centrelink beneficiaries conducted by Mint Research, the results demonstrated the difficulties faced by consumers in having the financial means to pay the price of telecommunication use.  reported 62 per cent of participants were forced to either reduce service usage or faced hardship in using the service over the past 12 months.

SACOSS CEO, Ross Womersley stated “This research confirms the growing divide in our community between those who can afford to stay connected and those who can’t.  It is clear that those who have the least ability to afford to get and to stay connected, will miss out in all sorts of ways. This research shows that not only must we urgently move to make this allowance fit for purpose and available to all those who really need it, we should also urgently enhance our income support payment system to ensure everyone has access to a basic level of income that enables them to get by”

ACCAN, SACOSS and FCA are all signatories on a letter sent to communications representatives for the Australian Labor Party, the Australian Greens and the Coalition Liberal and National Party, which asked for the elected party to conduct a deep review of the CTA to ensure that  low income earners are connected to telecommunication services nationwide.

This article’s information was taken from a media release as published by ACCAN on their website, available here: http://accan.org.au/election-2016/media/1258-new-data-highlights-telecommunications-exclusion

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