MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
SENATOR ANNE URQUHART
CHIEF OPPOSITION WHIP IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
MORRISON GOVERNMENT’S ROTTEN DECISION TO CUT CAPTEL FROM 1 FEBRUARY WILL HURT ELDERLY DEAF AUSTRALIANS
In a cruel blow to older Australians who are deaf or hearing impaired, the Morrison Government is cutting access to CapTel services on 1 February 2020.
Why must senior deaf Australians suffer the indignity of using a 1980 style Teletypewriter when CapTel offers them the ability to communicate more easily, have greater quality of life and an improved sense of security and safety?
The average age of a CapTel user is 82 years old, and the Government did not even bother consulting the community before cutting NRS funding and services.
This is appalling behavior from a rotten Government – and the human impact of this decision should not be understated.
This is a Government that is so incompetent, smug and void of empathy that they are not even willing to preserve the ability of senior deaf Australians to access modern telecommunications technology. This will carry a health and social cost that far exceeds the petty savings they are trying to achieve.
An ABC report today also raises the concerning prospect that despite the cut-off scheduled for tomorrow, up to 1,000 devices are still active, and it is unclear whether all existing users have alternative telephone service arrangements in place.
The Government has sought to force many senior Australians onto inferior Teletypewriters (TTYs), a technology designed in the 1980s, to make text relay calls.
This is despite the Minister’s own Department wanting to phase out TTYs, and posting a statement on 7 January 2020 conceding TTY calls were having technical and interference problems under the new NRS provider.
Labor calls on the Morrison Government to stop treating elderly deaf Australians with contempt, and to ensure that no user is left with degraded access to telecommunications as a result of their funding cuts and backwards technology decisions.
FRIDAY, 31 JANUARY 2020