Telstra's Consultation on "Access For Everyone"
23 June 2003 at 1:06 pm
Telstra has agreed that ongoing consultation with Peak Welfare Organisations is the key to the success of a program to provide affordable communications services to low income and financially disadvantaged customers called ‘Access For Everyone’.
Telstra’s independent consultation committee which includes representatives from welfare groups advises the telco on how to provide services to customers on low incomes. This committee reports annually on the effectiveness of these services in fulfilling the identified needs of low-income customers.
The committee is called the Low Income Measures Assessment Committee (LIMAC) and includes representatives from:
Australian Council of Social Service
Council on the Ageing (Australia)
Australian Federation of Homelessness Organisations
Department of Family and Community Services
The Salvation Army
The Smith Family
Through these consultations Telstra has developed the ‘Access for Everyone’ package which aims to provide practical, and relevant initiatives on affordable ways for groups like low-income earners, the elderly, job seekers and the homeless to maintain contact with friends and family as well as for employment, emergency or medical needs.
The ‘Access for Everyone’ Package includes:
▲ Telstra Bill Assistance Program – offering short term emergency relief to assist people who are experiencing a financial crisis and are unable to pay their phone bill.
▲ Sponsored Access – An InContact service provided within crisis accommodation properties such as women’s shelters.
▲ Telstra MessageBox – enabling a range of disadvantaged people who have difficulty maintaining access to a telephone service to set up their own message service and retrieve messages from anywhere in Australia.
▲ Telstra pensioner Concession Service – improvements include tying increases in fixed line service rentals to no more that the CPI.
▲ Homeline Budget – providing lower line rental and higher call prices for customers who make very few calls.
The Chairman of LIMAC, Chris Dodds says a significant part of the success of the program up to now is due to the consultation that Telstra has been prepared to undertake.
Dodds says Telstra’s willingness to listen to people from various fields, who have the depth of experience in dealing with disadvantaged people and their need, has enabled the telecommunications giant to draw on expertise that it doesn’t hold itself.
Last year in developing the package, Telstra and LIMAC identified seven low income customer groups – aged pensioners, customers with a disability, transient customers, job seekers, customers from non-English speaking backgrounds, customers from Aboriginal and Islander communities and low income families.
Dodds says LIMAC’s aim is to refine and modify existing products to ensure their appropriateness for different target groups.
Telstra has updated its version of “You’re a-Z Guide to Affordable Communication” incorporating the new ‘Access For Everyone” initiatives.
For more information on the ‘Access Fort Everyone’ program go to www.telstra.com.au/accessforeveryone.