Save our NRS

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Save our NRS

I am a National Relay Service (NRS) user and I use this service regularly to make calls to make appointments, clients, services, family members and so on. 

The NRS is an important service because it offers me the equivalency to telephony that cannot be replicated with 'cheap other options' mainstream communications.

The current Request for Tender (RFT) only requires Emergency Services to be 24/7. Other services such as captioned relay, text relay, SMS relay, IP relay and Video Relay are not guaranteed full service and is subjected to bidder's capacity to deliver at a 'Value for Money' which is capped at $22m per annum.

In 2016-17, the total operating cost for increasing demand for NRS was at $32m. With capped funding, this means my access to NRS may be limited or restricted.

What's more, the Outreach Program is no longer offered. We need the Outreach Program because I see many people who needs NRS are unaware of this important service. 

I am worried.

What happen if I am driving and my car breaks down in the middle of the road at 10PM and I cannot make calls because the service is unavailable?

Or if I need personal support and I need to call a hotline but I cannot because the service is unavailable?

Or if I need to urgently contact my family members to let them know of an immediate issue but I cannot because the service is unavailable?

This lack of assurance is worrying and is not comforting to me, my family, and to my community.

I need assurance. I need to feel safe in my community. I need to be seen as equal member of the community.

Can you help me?

Please stop the tender process undertaking by Department of Communications and the Arts so the requirements can be reviewed so our assurances can be met. 

I ask for NRS to: 

  1. ensure that all services are operating 24/7, everyday of the year. 
  2. restore Outreach Program so other can learn about how to use the NRS; and
  3. ensure that the NRS are appropriately funded. 

NRS is my equivalency for telephony service, I need them everyday for 24 hours a day. 

Please. stop. this. tender.