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Wednesday, 15 March 2000
Page: 12813


Senator HOGG (12:37 PM) —I rise to just very briefly speak to the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Bill 1999. I note that the bill is in respect of the National Relay Service for those who are deaf or hearing or speech impaired and have problems with access to standard telephone services. The second reading speech and the explanatory memorandum leave a few questions that I need answered. It may well be that the minister in responding in this second reading debate can answer those questions for me. I understand that the changes under this bill are simple changes in terms of the administration of the levy that is raised. The questions are simply: what will be the effect on the current service standards to the consumers of the National Relay Service? Is there any noticeable or discernible change or effect on the current standards? What will be the effect on the provider? What guarantees are there that these arrangements will not have to be altered again? And, have the current accounting payment difficulties had any impact on service delivery? It would be handy if those could be answered by the minister rather than at some later stage in the debate. They are not difficult questions to answer.