ACOSS welcomes homeless smartphone deal, but more to be done

Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) CEO Cassandra Goldie has welcomed a new partnership that will deliver free access to an app that helps homeless people find shelter and other services on the Telstra phone network.

The deal between Infoxchange and Telstra, announced at the ACOSS National Conference in Sydney, will allow homeless people who have smartphones but no credit to still use the app to find somewhere to eat, sleep, or access healthcare.

“This deal has the potential to make a huge difference to some very vulnerable people,” Dr Goldie said.

“People don’t realise that most homeless people have mobile phones but not necessarily credit on those phones.

“This news is not only welcome, but timely. It comes soon after the South Australian Council of Social Service and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) issued a joint report into telecommunications affordability. The key message of that report is that people on low incomes are suffering from disadvantage as they can’t afford equal access to phone and internet services.

“We now need to work harder to come up with solutions that will ensure that no-one, no matter their income level, is left behind in the digital Information Age. This requires adequate income support to cover the costs of essential services, including digital telecommunications as well as creative partnerships between government, civil society and business such as the Infoxchange/Telstra partnership announced today.”

DOWNLOAD JOINT SACOSS/ACCAN report: Connectivity Costs: Telecommunications Affordability for Low-Income Australians

Contact:  

Ross Womersley, SACOSS 0418 805 426
Alan Walmsley, ACOSS 
0419 626 155

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