MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
SENATOR ANNE URQUHART
CHIEF OPPOSITION WHIP IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
SENATE CENSURES MORRISON GOVERNMENT ON MISHANDLING OF CAPTEL
The Senate has today passed a motion condemning the Morrison Government for not consulting deaf Australians who rely on CapTel, or their family members, before deciding to axe CapTel services.
The average CapTel user is 80 years old, and this easy-to-use handset allows users to make text-relay calls to family and friends, as well as access emergency services.
Familiarity with technology is important for elderly CapTel users. Some older Australians also live alone, making it more difficult for them to acquire the necessary skills to confidently use new devices like an iPad or smartphone.
It’s no surprise the Morrison Government doesn’t get this given it didn’t even bother to consult the people who would be affected:
Senator Urquhart: You said it [CapTel alternatives] was a comparable experience. Based on whose feedback is that?
Official: That is from our own experience.
Senator Urquhart: Your own, not the CapTel users?
(Source: Senate Estimates, 22 October 2019, p71)
A 2016 paper issued by Government on communications accessibility also posed the following question to stakeholders:
"What sort of transition process would be appropriate in phasing out legacy proprietary technology such as TTY [teletypewriter] access to the NRS?"
If a teletypewriter (TTY) handset is an old legacy product that needs phasing out - why is the Government forcing elderly CapTel users onto it?
Based on the Department’s own paper, wouldn’t it make more sense to migrate TTY users onto better and more modern solutions such as CapTel — rather than migrating CapTel users onto TTY’s?
THURSDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2019