The Local Government Association of Tasmania has passed a motion of support to Keep Me Posted, the consumer campaign advocating the consumer's right to choose how their service providers communicate with them, free of charge.
Last September, a Public Forum organised in Devonport and hosted by Senator Urquhart gathered residents, representatives of charities and political representatives to discuss the impact of the digital divide and unfair fee practices. This resulted in the Devonport City Council carrying a motion of support to the campaign. On Friday, November 4 the Local Councils of Tasmania unilaterally took the opportunity to stand for their residents’ right to choose.
"Tasmania becomes the first state to promote the consumer’s right to choose, leading the rest of Australia,” commented Kellie Northwood, executive director of the campaign. “With banks, telcos and other service providers increasing pressure on their customers to switch to electronic bills and statements by charging a fee for paper communications, many Tasmanians have been left footing the bill.”
Studies show it is the most vulnerable who are impacted the most with 57 percent of households earning less than $40,000 not having access to the internet and only 51 percent of Australians over 65 being internet users.
Tasmania is one of the most affected States by the digital divide. The Australian Digital Inclusion Index released in August 2016 reveals that Tasmania is the least digitally included State of Australia. With a score of 48.2, it is 6.3 points below the national average.
Keep Me Posted calls on corporations’ social responsibility and asks them to remove ‘pay-to-pay’ penalties for consumers. The campaign is lobbying for consumers to not be charged any fees for bills or statements whether issued on paper or digitally.