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**Media Release** Users challenge the Government on NRS’s Future as Equal Access Service

**Media Release** Users challenge the Government on NRS’s Future as Equal Access Service

Today (24 April, 2018), the National Relay Service (NRS) users called their MP to express their service concerns in the Australian Government’s Request for Tender (RFT) for the next National Relay Service contract, a service that will see NRS slip from the world best to potentially the world world’s worst relay service.

Last week on the ABC’s Q and A, Minister for Communication and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, declared that “a range of options … many of those free or at no cost” will be a viable means for National Relay Service users. This dynamic shift means that the government expects that those options should be considered an important alternative to the National Relay Service as a cost saving strategy.

The NRS Coalition demands the Australia government provide evidence that those free or cheap options are tested and proven technologies before introducing to the NRS. To date, this evidence has not been provided to the NRS Coalition.

WhatsApp, Messenger, online chat and other various mainstream communication applications are all non real-time communication technologies and cannot duplicate nor replicate telecommunication equivalency that NRS users require – that is, real-time service.

With a reduction from the current cost of delivering the service from $32M to a cap of $22m per annum and increase reliance on mainstream communications provides no guarantee of a 24/7 service that NRS users require”, says Kyle Miers, spokesperson for the NRS Coalition. “Evidence to support alternative means is lacking and is in no way an assurance for NRS users to trust this tendering process.”

NRS Coalition calls for the Government to provide evidence that mainstream communications will replicate the National Relay Service in its ‘real-time’ functionalities. If it does not, then the Government is discriminating NRS users from the equivalency on a 24/7 basis.

NRS Coalition has established a petition on Change.org that calls the government to cease the tendering process to ensure that our assurances are met. The petition is on track to obtain 2,000 supporters.

For further information about NRS Coalition’s position, please visit www.nrs247.org.au.

Media Release 24 April 2018

Posted in: Deaf Australia News, Media Release

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