An independent committee has been appointed to examine and undertake a review into regional telecommunications services.
Federal Regional Communications Minister, Mark Coulton MP today announced the membership of the committee that will carry out the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.
The committee will review the state of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia, and will report to the Government with its findings and recommendations by 31 December 2021.
The Hon Luke Hartsuyker will chair the committee. Mr Hartsuyker, as a former regional MP, has a thorough understanding of rural Australia and the telecommunications needs of rural communities.
Four other representatives – Ms Kristy Sparrow; Ms Sue Middleton; Professor Hugh Bradlow; and Mr Michael Cosgrave – make up the committee.
Minister Coulton said the five members were selected because of their extensive experience in telecommunications, agriculture, regional business, competition and consumer regulation, and community affairs.
“I am pleased to have such a high calibre panel looking at these important issues,” Minister Coulton said.
“The members have a broad-ranging knowledge of the telecommunications sector and of regional Australia, they appreciate the needs of regional communities, and they will undertake a thorough examination of regional telecommunication issues that will include an extensive public consultation process.
“As part of this consultation process, the Committee will engage closely with stakeholder groups and regional communities to understand what is happening with telecommunications and the issues they are facing on the ground.”
The Committee has been specifically asked to consider:
- The effectiveness of government policies and programs relating to regional telecommunications;
- The impact of COVID-19 on consumers’ access to and usage of telecommunications services in regional communities;
- Issues relating to service reliability in regional areas;
- The opportunities arising from emerging telecommunications technologies; and
- Changes that could be made to further expand digital connectivity in the bush.
The Regional Telecommunications Reviews are conducted every three years under Part 9B of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.