Keep Me Posted is continuing to lead the charge against penalties for paper bills and statements, by hosting its first public forum in Tasmania.
Some 50 members of the community, representatives of charities and local councillors turned up to hear from guest speaker and host senator Anne Urquhart, member for Braddon Justine Keay, Colin Ormsby from Fair Go for Pensioners, Judy Huett from Speak Out and executive director of Keep Me Posted, Kellie Northwood.
Keep Me Posted is lobbying politicians to support the campaign which urges banks, telcos and other service providers to dump their inflating charges for customers who request paper bills or statements.
The forum follows after a series of meetings Northwood and the Keep Me Posted team had in Canberra last week with 20 federal politicians from various parties.
Tasmania is considered a state hit hard by the digital divide with recent statistics from the Australian Digital Inclusion Index revealing Tasmania is the least digitally included state of Australia.
The state produced a score of 48.2, which is 6.3 points below the national average.
Northwood says for many Tasmanians receiving digital communication is simply not an option.
“In Australia internet accessibility and internet affordability are significant issues,” she says. “As the campaign travels across Australia we are hearing more and more the first hand impact on the community of fees for paper bills and statements and it is simply unjust.”
The forum invited members of the community to share their experiences, learn about the impact of the fees and hear advice on how to avoid receiving these charges.
Senator Urquhart urged attendees of the forum to write to their local and federal representatives, telling the audience, “the power of the people is strong.”
Federal member for Braddon, Justine Keay told the crowd, “The practice of charging a fee for paper bills is excluding many in our community that do not use, or do not have access to the Internet in their home.
“I do not think it is right for our elderly community members, or vulnerable Australians to be charged with extra fees that can easily stretch to hundreds of dollars a year.”
Keep Me Posted will be travelling across Australia in the coming weeks to host more public forums.
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