The average age of people using the CapTel service is 80. They are concerned by the decision to axe the service early next year. Users are concerned about the quality and convenience of the alternative services and are uncomfortable about learning to use a new technology.
Labor communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said the government has ignored the concerns of elderly Australians and their families. “Their decision to cut CapTel outright, without consulting the community or making any reasonable attempt to find middle ground, is not befitting the sensitivity and care we should be showing to elderly deaf Australians.”
The Government has made a public statement about CapTel. It confirms that CapTel will not be saved. The statements reads:
Support for CapTel users
Thank you for contacting the Government about the upcoming withdrawal of National Relay Service support for the CapTel handset on 1 February 2020.
For the latest information about alternative communication options for CapTel users from 1 February 2020, please see Frequently Asked Questions: Withdrawal of National Relay Service support for CapTel handsets. (https://www.communications.gov.au/documents/frequently-asked-questions-withdrawal-national-relay-service-support-captel-handsets)
The Department of Communications and the Arts is committed to helping CapTel users to fully understand the NRS call options that can be used. Support will include written instructions, demonstrations and one-on-one sessions using communication devices.
To help us best meet user needs, we are inviting CapTel users to complete a questionnaire. Responses to this questionnaire will help us to help CapTel users transition to another device before support for the captioning service of the CapTel handset is withdrawn.
CapTel users can complete the questionnaire in a number of ways:
- online at this link (https://communications.e-newsletter.com.au/survey.php?sid=24569&name=captel-user-questionnaire) or
- by downloading and emailing a completed questionnaire available at this link (https://www.communications.gov.au/files/questionnaire-captel-usersdocx), to the NRS Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- contacting the NRS Helpdesk on 1800 555 660. The Helpdesk staff can record verbal responses to the questionnaire and provide the response to us.
If responses to the questionnaire include interest in receiving some support, we will get in touch with CapTel users to make arrangements for the delivery of that support. It would be appreciated if surveys could be completed and returned by no later than 21 October 2019.