Federal Regional Communications Minister, Mark Coulton MP, announced that an independent committee has been appointed to investigate and review regional telecommunications services. 

The committee will review the state of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia, reporting its findings and recommendations to the Government by 31 December 2021.

The Hon Luke Hartsuyker,will chair the committee  – as a former regional MP, Mr Hartsuyker knows rural Australia and the telecommunications needs of these communities.

Four other representatives: Kristy Sparrow, Sue Middleton, Professor Hugh Bradlow, and Michael Cosgrave, will make up the committee.

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
  • Changes that could be made to further expand digital connectivity in the bush

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 Regional Telecommunications Reviews are conducted every three years under Part 9B of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

Further information, including member profiles and the Review’s terms of reference, is available on the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee website.

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