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As someone who has a profound hearing loss I rely fully on relay communication and would be greatly isolated without it
I wish to write as I am extremely concerned about the recent news that the National Relay Service has been put up for tender bids, with no guarantee of existing services being provided into the future.
As a profoundly deaf person who totally relies on the National Relay Service for telecommunications via ”text to voice” relay calls; I no longer have a land-line service, so all my calls for both professional and personal (including social) calls are completed through the IP Relay option, either through my PC at to work, Laptop/iPad at home, or on my iPhone (through the NRS app), when away from home (including when I am out doing fieldwork and need to contact a client – which is not always within business hours; as my work has very broad working hours).
I am horrified at the concept that the NRS may no longer be accessible to me ‘after hours’ through the lack of set requirements for services provided to tenderers. Why anything less than what is currently provided is not already a set requirement is beyond me!
I am trying hard to not be emotional here, but this is a very serious consideration for me, as an independent person – the lack of provision of such services makes me wonder how I will be able to life life as I currently do, without having to rely on a hearing person to undertake calls on my behalf – which is very patronising and debilitating.
It’s incomprehensible to understand the reasoning behind the huge reduction of funding promised to the successful tenderer. As a national telecommunications assistance service, accessibility and quality of services should not be compromised, nor should it be limited to those who provide ‘registration details’ – this causes issues and possible data breach issues. People without hearing impairment do not need to register to make calls, why should we – I can understand the requirement for pay-for-service or international calls, but not for everyday calls – i.e. the service should remain as it is, allowing anonymity. The service is convoluted enough as it is, to use, including sometimes, long waits for calls to be taken on by a relay officer, another step would make the service very clunky and reliant on all steps being in place before making a successful call. I always tell people that it takes me twice as long to make relay calls, than it would be if they did the call directly… that is long enough!
I trust that you will take my concerns on board and ensure that the current service is not compromised as such that Australians who require quality access, whenever they need it – not being limited to a set range of hours or services, can always access vital telecommunication access.
The National Relay Service is our equivalency to telecommunication service that allow deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and speech impaired citizens to lead and have productive lives any time of the hour, day and year. The livelihood is threatened by unproven and untested ‘other cheap options’ gives us no assurance of equivalency and to expect our lives to tether by hope is simply uncalled and unfair.
Australia’s National Relay Service is the envy of other countries. The public demand for this service is growing. Yet in real money terms, the budget that it must operate within is shrinking. We hope that the big telecommunications companies such as Telstra and Optus that fund the National Relay Service dig a little deeper into their profits to ensure that it has the budget it needs to meet today’s public demand; and into the future.
I am deafblind how can I communicate with this like Internet relay service. I need it. Thanks
I remember the feeling of utter liberation when I made my first relay call through Deaflink in 1989.
That I could just pick up the handset, and put it on my TTY, and call anyone I wanted in real time – was mind blowing.
When the NRS went 24 hours, it was even better – I could call anyone at any time – and I did!
NRS keeps deaf/HOH people in the loop. Just because there’s text or email it is not the same. Deaf/HOH people need to be able to call friends, family, etc. Not all of us have a friend or neighbor we can rely on to assist with call. Keep the NRS going. Deaf people, whether HOH/Deaf/CI, we all need to communicate with the hearing world, or we go back decades to our old ways of staying in touch.
One time in Brisbane my daughter (then aged about 14) woke me up to say there were strange noises coming from the top part of her wardrobe. Next morning we had a look – a green snake!! I used the NRS to phone the relevant people, who were very helpful, asked me to check for identification (yes it was harmless), advised me what to do and generally reassured me greatly.
Dear Australia Government Stop cutting back because we using them everyday I’m proud of using for making appts or contact who don’t have experience with deaf or hard of hearing. When you get older you will need help access our service always grateful for their service NRS/ VRS too if you cut back then I charge you for cut back my quality time to figure around to find like those Nrs/VRS who were there for me everyday
I use it every day for business, appts etc…gives me a feeling of independence.
It’s important this service is kept open 24/7 as it provides equal access for deaf people to ring their family, businesses, banks, friends, lovers, doctors and the list is endless
A deaf person without the NRS. Severely disadvantaged and looked down by the majority especially when you work in management and running your own business. My parents who are deaf were entrepreneurs and had to employ staff to do phone calls (as part of their office duties) so we were always dependent on others. When the NRS started, it was great to be able to make calls independently but still, conversations took a long time to make as we had to type. When the Video Relay Service came into service, it was like a blast of fresh air as we were able to converse with others at a normal pace and interpreters were able to relay conversational nuances that is missing from the text relay.
I feel very empowered when making calls to my customers, work colleagues, family and friends who are hearing using video relay service as I know what I say will be relayed in a style that reflects my personality, and five times faster as I do not need to type.
I feel sick thinking that I might be transported back to the dark ages. What impact will it have on me? On my professional performance? Can I play on an equal playing field with my hearing peers?
I’m heavily reliant on the NRS as I’m profoundly deaf and use the service all the time. Not a good feeling at all reading this news about the NRS.