Communications accessibility: 2016 and beyond

We have released a consultation paper that discusses potential options to ensure the sustainability of the National Relay Service and improve communications for people with disabilities.

Why we want your input

We want to work with you to ensure the sustainability of the National Relay Service and improve access to communication services for people with disabilities.

How you can voice your opinion

Tell us what you think in writing by COB Friday 6 May 2016. If you would like to make a submission over the phone, you can also contact 03 9097 8327. We will also contact key stakeholders to discuss the paper.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Submissions will be used to inform the development of options to improve access to communication services for people with disabilities.

The Issue

The National Relay Service (NRS) is a long-standing initiative by the Australian Government in addressing communications accessibility issues for people who are deaf, hearing and/or speech-impaired. The introduction of a number of innovative improvements to the NRS in the last two‑and‑a‑half years has led to increased demand for the service.

Advances in technology have improved the range of accessible services available in Australia, with smartphone and tablet devices now offering high levels of accessibility and text based communication options, such as live chat, messaging and email.

This consultation paper outlines a range of potential options to sustain the delivery of the National Relay Service in the short term. It also canvasses a range of options to greater support the use of mainstream technologies and services by Australians with a disability.

We are seeking your views on the options in this paper to inform the future policy responses on accessible communications and the implementation of measures to support the continued delivery of the National Relay Service.

A summary of the paper in both English and Auslan is available below.


Relevant Documentation

Communications accessibility 2016 and beyond consultation paper

Published 24th Mar 2016

Download PDF (1.49 MB) Download DOC (1.32 MB)

The scope of this paper is restricted to consideration of accessibility issues relating to telecommunication services. This paper considers the impacts of a rapidly changing communications environment on the existing communications accessibility framework. It identifies possible opportunities arising from technological changes to support the sustainability of the NRS and improve communications options for people with a disability.

Summary document of Communications accessibility 2016 and beyond consultation paper

Published 1st Apr 2016

Download PDF (471.47 KB) Download DOC (725.85 KB)

Summary document of the public consultation paper, Communications Accessibility: 2016 and Beyond

Submission template

Published 24th Mar 2016

Download DOC (22.68 KB)

Please use this submission template when responding to this consultation. When you have completed this template, you can upload it through the 'Have your say now' button below.


An Implementation Plan for reform of the National Relay Service (NRS) has been released.  The reforms include:

  • The introduction of a compulsory registration requirement to access the service; and
  • Refocusing of the NRS outreach service.

The Government has also agreed to go to tender for the continued provision of the NRS within the existing annual funding allocation of $22 million (including GST).

Consultation outcomes - Reform of National Relay Service

Consultation outcomes - Reform of National Relay Service―implementation plan



24 Mar 2016 09:00 AEDT
06 May 2016 19:00 AEST

We invite you to to tell us your views on this topic.

Please include:

  • contact name
  • organisation name, if applicable
  • contact details, including telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • confirmation whether or not your submission can be made public—published—or kept confidential.

All submissions to be made public need to meet the Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.

If your submission is to be made public, please ensure you do not include any personal information that you don't want to be published.

Please use the submission template document above then click on the 'Have your say now' button below to upload it.

This consultation is closed.


Displaying 1 - 10 of 25
Able Australia
Australia Cross Disability Alliance
Bob Bird
Brenda and Greg Leeson
Conexu Foundation
Consultel Associates Ltd