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Update after meeting with Minister Rowland 29 May 2024


Hi, I’m Shirley, Acting CEO of Deaf Australia.

I would like to share an update with you about a meeting re had last Friday with Minister Rowland, Minister for Communications.

It was a very positive meeting and I was accompanied by communications expert, Phil Harper.  We raised a number of issues including NRS and triple 0 emergency call access.

Minister Rowland acknowledged and apologised for the gaps and unclear communication and lack of collaboration prior to the recent NRS tender process and we discussed how this can improve for future.

We impressed upon the Minister the importance of the VRS service for the deaf community and asked her to consider making the VRS service a 24/7 service like the NRS. We discussed the importance of increasing funding is increased for this purpose.  We highlighted how important the VRS is especially for deaf people who are not NDIS participants.

We also reinforced that the need for the VRS is not limited to business hours and a short time on Saturday. Minister is committed to working with us on improving VRS access  alongside the Department of Communications.

We also asked about the lack of a consumer advisory group to the Department of Communications specifically on the NRS to provide consumer advice, experience and perspective on the NRS.  In the past, from 1995 – 2013 there has been an advisory group but since 2013, there has been no consumer advisory group. The Minister was committed to investigating the reinstatement of this advisory group and acknowledged how important it is to have this group.

Finally, we explained the issues for deaf people access triple 0 emergency calls, how this could be improved including utilising an expanded VRS service. The Minister is committed to investigating how this can improve for the deaf community.

Thank you for supporting our work by providing your feedback to the recent NRS survey circulated by Deaf Australia. We will continue to keep you updated.

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