Friday 13 August 2021

Residents across regional, rural and remote communities are having their say on local telecommunications issues, with a series of virtual consultations for the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review now underway in response to COVID-19 border restrictions.

The Review Committee is encouraging people to join a consultation session – and if they can’t – to provide a written submission to the Issues Paper by the end of September. The Issues Paper is available on the RTIRC website – www.rtirc.gov.au/.

The virtual consultations are proving to be highly successful, with strong attendance from local communities and are surfacing many views. They have allowed the five-member Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee to hear firsthand how telecommunications services are being delivered and used in regional areas.

So far ten virtual consultations sessions have already been held across all states, with more sessions scheduled over the next six weeks.

Chair of the Review Committee, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, said the feedback from these sessions is critical and will help set the telecommunications agenda for years to come.

“Local issues can often require local solutions, and we want to hear about those challenges to ensure this Review has a significant impact on how the government responds,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“What we want to do – and what the virtual consultations allow us to do – is to ensure we have a wide range of views from regional, rural and remote stakeholders across Australia.”

The Committee has directly heard from people on the ground on the importance of telecommunications in regional areas. Mr Hartsuyker said the consultation is going well, with a number of issues already raised that will inform the Committee’s report back to government at the end of the year.

“The Committee has so far heard from communities about important issues such as mobile and broadband service reliability and resilience as well as knowing what connectivity options are available,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“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”

“Even if they can’t get to a virtual consultation, I would encourage stakeholders to have their say by providing a written submission and encourage others in their community to do so as well. It does not need to be long, what we are interested in is the issues that are important to people,”

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: secretariat@rtirc.gov.au.

Media contact

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications | media@communications.gov.au | +61 2 6271 1777