The Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee held its first virtual public consultation on Tuesday 27 July 2021 with interested individuals and organisations from Central and West Queensland.
COVID-19 restrictions and border closures meant the Committee was required to hold a virtual forum, with people joining online or via telephone.
The consultation was well attended by individuals, regional business owners, educators, a mayor, local council representatives, and telecommunications companies. Each participant provided information to further the Committee’s understanding of regional, rural and remote telecommunications challenges and opportunities.
The Committee heard the following:
- It is difficult for consumers to raise issues and opportunities with the telecommunications providers. The attendees raised that there is a need to connect with people who understand their issues.
- There is an important role of connectivity in education, and that this extends beyond the school to supporting public safety, community wellbeing and attracting and retaining staff in regional areas.
- Power outages have broad impacts for natural disaster management, with many people still using legacy technologies like UHF due to reliability issues with landline and mobile.
- Power outages also have impacts for business and banking, including due to the rise of two-factor authentication to sign into online banking and other websites.
- There is a need for a long-term, grassroots and forward-looking approach to Government investment in infrastructure, which can accommodate evolutions to technology and the evolving needs of community.
- There is a need for independent advice to empower councils and communities to engage with the telecommunications providers to develop appropriate solutions.
- Connectivity plays a critical role in leveraging the economic opportunity available in central Queensland, particularly in enabling access to global markets and increasing the transparency of supply chains.
The Committee is continuing to engage with Australians around the country. For more info on the consultation schedule, please visit www.rtirc.gov.au/consultation.