Community Notices

— New —

Telstra opens up drought support for farmers

Telstra is opening up its natural disaster support arrangements to its drought affected farmer customers across the country. [Queensland Country Life]

— Older —

20 Worst Youth Unemployment Hotspots (March 2018)

A new report by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has named Australia’s 20 worst hotspots for youth unemployment.

ACCAN welcomes ACCC enforcement action against Telstra

ACCAN welcomes the ACCC’s announcement on Monday that it has commenced proceedings against Telstra for misleading its customers about third party billing services. [ACCAN]

ACCAN: Complaints show need for urgent reform

ACCAN is alarmed that complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have increased by 28.7 percent in the six months to December 2017 compared to the same time the previous year. The peak Australian telecommunications consumer body says the TIO’s latest statistics reinforce the need for urgent industry action to put customers first.

ACCC win puts debt collectors on notice

The Federal Court has found one of Australia’s largest debt collection firms, ACM Group Ltd, engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct, harassment and coercion, and unconscionable conduct in its dealings with two vulnerable consumers.

ACCC welcomes consumer data right

Following the Treasurer’s response to the Open Banking Review, the ACCC welcomes the introduction of a general data right for all consumers and $20 million in the Federal Budget over the next four years to oversee its implementation.

The consumer data right will enable customers to share their transaction, usage and product data with service competitors and comparison services, if they choose to do so.

“The introduction of a consumer data right in Australia is a fundamental competition and consumer reform. The ACCC is delighted to lead the data right and to work in the best interest of consumers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

ACCC registers rise in NBN-related complaints

NBN related-complaints to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission rose “significantly” during 2016-17, the watchdog has revealed. [ComputerWorld]

ACMA releases new NBN migration rules

The ACMA’s new rules will require line tests on NBN services, reconnecting customers to legacy services where the NBN is unusable, providing minimum information to consumers, and reporting complaints data to the ACMA. [ZDNet]

ACMA Consumer Protection Rules

The ACMA is developing new rules to protect consumers migrating to the NBN, as announced late last year. The ACMA has now consulted on all five measures which focus on improving the way the telco industry handles consumer complaints, the provision of information to consumers, and ensuring that consumers have access to a working service. ACCAN has submitted on the: Complaints Handling Standard, Record Keeping Rules, Consumer Information Standard, Line Testing Determination, and Service Continuity Standard.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN): Updates

Australians lost $340 million to scammers in 2017

Australians lost more money to scammers in 2017 than in any other year since the ACCC began reporting on scam activity.

Australians with hearing impairments call on government to fund (NRS) interpreting service

Australians with hearing impairments are calling on their local politicians for more funding for a vital interpreting service, to ensure they can communicate visually via video with interpreters. [ABC RN]

Being billed for getting a bill in the mail could be coming to an end

ACCAN member group, Consumer Action Law Centre, is one of several groups calling for an outright ban on fees for mailing hard copies of bills and statements. [ABC]

Beware of calls recommending switching telcos

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is warning consumers about service providers that are contacting consumers and falsely claiming that their services are recommended by the TIO.

Calls for Funders to Get on the Map (Pro Bono Australia) 8 March 2018

Centrelink gave companies accused of exploitation direct access to welfare payments

Centrelink has given companies accused of exploitation and misconduct direct access to welfare recipients’ money through its automated debit system.

Charities Fear Funding Cuts Will Follow SA Election (Pro Bono Australia) 7 March 2018

Charities Must Help People Help Themselves (Pro Bono Australia) 15 March 2018

Cheap Ideas for men and women to save money

Check petrol prices with the RAA

City of PAE: Free WiFi at Home for Young Jobseekers

Coalition warned welfare overhaul could worsen poverty and unemployment

Community Houses: BIG Impact (posted 7 May 2018)

Cost of a pet

Did you know the average dog costs more than $1,400 per year? The cost of a pet infographic explores the average cost of pet ownership and pet insurance in Australia.

Data breach guidance

The Office of the Information Commissioner (OAIC) has published a new consumer guide with tips on what to do if an individual’s personal information is accessed or released without authorisation, or is lost.

DCSI: First biennial report on the Status of Women in South Australia

Don’t friend a scammer this Valentine’s Day

The ACCC is warning people to be careful about who they ‘friend’ online this Valentine’s Day with stats showing people are most likely to be preyed upon by dating and romance scammers on social media sites. [ACCC]

Fears welfare overhaul will see homelessness rise (CathNews) 6 February 2018

Findex Community Fund launches to support charities across Australia and New Zealand

Financial counselling at the Zahra Foundation

The Foundation provides a financial counsellor at the Women’s Information Service for women who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. This service is available by appointment on Tuesdays at the Women’s Information Service. To make an appointment, please contact the Zahra Foundation on 8352 1889.

Financial Inclusion Program Completes First Phase (Pro Bono Australia) 7 March 2018


Are you eligible for low cost glasses?

Greens Warn of ‘Agenda’ to Broadly Roll Out Cashless Welfare Card (Pro Bono Australia) 30 May 2018

Half of Australians hit with phone or internet issues, survey finds

Half of Australians have been plagued with phone and internet issues in the past year, with a survey by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman showing millions of people are facing telco problems. [SMH]

How a community development bank in Brazil stimulated the local economy (Shareable) 29 March 2018

How to fight the ‘dark patterns’ websites deploy to trick you to spend more

As we spend more of our lives on the internet, it is vital to know about ‘dark patterns’ which include website design choices that, for example, nudge consumers into unnecessary purchases or into revealing personal information. [ABC]

iiNet and Internode to compensate 11,000 NBN customers

TPG Telecom’s iiNet and Internode have been ordered to compensate more than 11,000 customers who were unable to achieve promised national broadband network speeds. [SMH]

in the loop (Community Sector Banking) March 2018

Legal Action by ACCC against Equifax – 16 March 2018

Lumin: What does government expect from not for profits (April 2018)

Nicola Roxon speaks about her unique and detailed knowledge of how the community, social change and not for profit sectors can clearly and effectively communicate to the government, ensuring they put the best arguments forward. Nicola Roxon is a leader, chairperson, businesswoman, creative policymaker and outstanding achiever. She has won numerous awards, both nationally and internationally, including from the World Health Organisation. Ms Roxon was inducted into Victoria’s Honour Roll of Women in 2014 and named one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence in 2015.

Missed call phone scam still catching Australian mobile users off guard
The ACCC is warning mobile phone users to avoid returning unexpected calls from overseas numbers as a missed call scam returns to our shores. [ABC]

Mobile and broadband plans $120 a year cheaper than in 2014

The average mobile plan is about $11 a month cheaper than it was in 2014, new data shows, with fixed internet down about $10. {SMH]

Mobile service text scams continue to take their toll

Scamming of mobile phone users with premium service texts has already cost Aussies $44,179 this year alone – and a total of $153,197 in losses since 2015. [itwire]

MoneyMinded Facilitator Training

MoneyMinded Facilitator Training is a financial literacy program developed for community workers who work with clients who require financial literacy support. The training is 2 full days and is free. Some of the topics covered include: how to write a budget, dealing with debt, scams, superannuation, everyday banking and setting financial goals. Attendees receive comprehensive resources and the ability to order free resources online to utilise with clients or when presenting workshops. Please find more information here.

Nanna’s Free Food Basket Inc. – launching 14 February 2018 (Semaphore Park)

“Sharing good food with our neighbours in need”

Every Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm at Bower Cottages Community Centre, 200 Bower Road, Semaphore Park. For more info please call Bower Cottages on 8408 1395 or Bronwyn (Nanna’s Free Food Basket Inc.) on 0476 663 652.

Come along to Bower Cottages every Wednesday for a free BBQ while you fill your basket with free and low cost healthy food. All welcome. Please bring your own bags.

Need a Glow at Night – Save with Solar Lights – Contributed by Helen Joy (June 2018)
“Our electricity bill was literally breaking our budget. With three young ones in the house all wanting lights on in their rooms at night and other passage lights left on to guide them to the toilet in the dark, we decided this was the reason behind the exuberant bill. After much mulling, we purchased some solar lights for the toilet and all three bedrooms.
During the day, our young ones are responsible for placing their own room’s solar lights in the back garden (this encourages them to be responsible, and might encourage them to wean themselves off from this necessity, and i am responsible for the toilet solar light).
By taking the solar lights outside to store natural (free) light and them placing them back in their rooms at night, we have seen an incredible savings in our electricity bill. Any families that need a glow in any rooms – this is a cheap and very cost effective way to manage this – i strongly recommend you do it!”

New Report Renews Calls to Raise Welfare Payments (Pro Bono Australia) 17 April

A new study has found the estimated costs of raising children in Australia have risen substantially over the past two decades, leading to renewed calls for an increase in Newstart and Youth Allowance payments.

 New rules to improve telco complaint handling – released 15 March 2018

ACCAN welcomed the ACMA’s announcement last week of a consultation on proposed new rules that cover telco complaints handling processes and monitoring. This consultation on complaints handling and monitoring is the first step in implementing the new telco rules for NBN switchover which were announced late last year by the ACMA.

New videos posted from Community Voices program

The Community Voices Program provides a unique opportunity for community organisations to partner with Flinders University film-making students to produce community documentaries or online video advertisements to promote, train or recruit volunteers.
Do you work for a community organisation that relies on volunteers? Do you want to promote the work you do and increase volunteer participation? Work with Flinders University film-making students to produce a short video about your organisation, what you do and your community impact.

News coverage:

Telstra has admitted to misleading up to 100,000 customers by charging them for content like games and ringtones many didn’t know they had bought. [SMH]

NFP Real Estate Agency to Drive Sydney’s Affordable Housing Supply (Pro Bono Australia) 11 April 2018

Permanent Housing is Number One Priority (Pro Bono Australia) 13 April 2018

Philanthropy Australia:  “We’re not telling people what to do. We just want to show what’s possible.”

Policy Advocacy’s Time Has Come (Pro Bono Australia) 14 February 2018

Potential AVEO Class Action over Exit Fees

Power Cuts and Food Safety – Contributed by Anne Ponton (June 2018)
“We arrived home after being away for several days and the power had been interrupted, as was indicated by the oven clock flashing. Being concerned about the safety of food in the fridge and freezer, I contacted the power supplier to find out how long it had been off. Luckily it had been only for a few minutes. I then decided if there were any power interruptions when away in the future, I would keep a small container of water in my freezer. So I filled a very small container with water, froze it and put a small coin (I used a 10 cent piece) on the top of the frozen water. If there is a lengthy power cut to spoil the safety of my food the coin would drop to the bottom of the container when the ice melted. Very simple, but very effective.” a small coin (I used a 10 cent piece) on the top of the frozen water. If there is a lengthy power cut to spoil the safety of my food the coin would drop to the bottom of the container when the ice melted. Very simple, but very effective.

Privacy: do I really need to worry about it? Part one

Privacy: do I really need to worry about it? Part two

Productivity Commission Calls to Put People ‘At the Heart’ of Human Services (Pro Bono Australia) 27 March 2018

Retailers Energy Efficiency Scheme and Utility Literacy

FREE Home Energy Assessments (done under REES – Retailers Energy Efficiency Scheme) were previously only available to households with a Commonwealth Concession Card.  However eligibility changes mean this valuable and FREE service is available to households referred through a Financial Counsellor. All householders are still eligible for the free energy efficient products if they meet scheme eligibility.

For more information please see  and

Selfie Generation’ Most Likely to Volunteer (Pro Bono Australia) 29 March 2018

Senate Urged to reject welfare reform bill (Pro Bono Australia) 5 February 2018

Serious financial crime in Australia, 2017
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, 2017: “Informs government, the wider intelligence community and members of the general public, of the threats posed by financial crime in Australia and … how to mitigate the risks.”

Sharp Decline in People Accessing Disability Support Pension  (Pro Bono Australia) 21 February 2018

Spammers put on notice by the ACMA after SMS pests fined AU$50k

Online marketplace Service Seeking has been fined AU$50,400 for spamming, while the ATO is looking for a third party to help it with a nationwide email campaign. [ZDNet]

Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2017

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 2018: “This report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community. It highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.”

Teaching Kids to Budget by Charging Board – Contributed by Jennifer Martin (June 2018)
“I have teenagers of my own now, but am still grateful to my mother for the board arrangements we had in place when I was in my first job. Essentially, I had to learn what it was like to budget both time and money. Rather than let me get off with just paying a flat, weekly board amount my mother said “you will live here rent free, but you will pay your way”. This meant I paid half of each phone bill (only had landline in those days – these days it would be a matter of paying for your own mobile), I paid half of each electricity and gas bill, I paid my share of groceries, and of course I bought my own clothes and toiletries and paid for my own transport. There were two of us in the house, which is why my share was half – if you have more family members then the formula would be 1/3 or 1/4 or 1/5 – whatever equates to the number of people using the electricity and eating the food, etc. The advantage of this system was that I had to learn to be aware of when these bills were due and to set aside money for them. When I moved out of home I had a very good understanding of the implications of leaving lights on and letting the electricity usage creep up, I had a great understanding of shopping for specials rather than just buying my favourite things week by week. These skills put me in good stead for paying off my first mortgage. It’s worth mentioning that I was also aware of the fact that I was living rent-free – so I quickly got a habit of setting aside a weekly amount equivalent to what I would have had to pay in rent if I was in a share-house and I saved that amount. The other thing that was expected of me when I had my first job was to pull my weight around the house. This meant I had to budget time as well as money. This was especially important in relation to things like laundry – because I needed clean clothes to wear to that first job! When my children finish school and get their first jobs I’d love them to still live with me – but I would also expect them to get the next part of their education: the time and money skills needed to operate a household.”

Telecommunications costs in regional SA

Telstra has scrapped Silent Line fees

ACCAN has welcomed Telstra’s announcement that it will no longer charge its customers $2.93 per month to have a Silent Line. The changes come into effect on 18 February.
This is a win for Telstra customers, especially those whose safety could be compromised by having personal information published in a directory.

Tenants Information and Advisory Service- SYC

The Tenants Information & Advisory Service (TIAS) is a free state-wide service that provides tenants with information and advice on any tenancy related issues

Tertiary education isn’t out of reach 

At UniSA College, higher education is achievable for all ages and backgrounds. UniSA College provides a range of educational opportunities to assist further study. Their programs are designed primarily for people who do not have the qualifications to gain direct entry into a Bachelor degree, offering an alternative pathway into university.

The courses prepare students for university study by building their academic skills and prerequisite knowledge. UniSA College students will experience life as a UniSA student, being taught by UniSA staff and having access to the full range of support services that the University provides. It is a perfect solution for those looking to study but don’t have the confidence or qualifications to do so.

For further question or information contact UniSA College on 8302 7407 or email

TIO ready to apply new standards in considering telecoms disputes

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has been quick to put the telecoms industry on notice it will take into account the new industry standards mandated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for consumers transitioning to the NBN, when considering disputes. [iTWire

TIO releases six month telco complaints report

This six month update provides key data on complaints from residential consumers and small businesses to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman for the period 1 July -31 December 2017.

Using your mobile while driving: here’s how you’ll be

It’s a candid camera moment, but you won’t be smiling. New laws coming into effect on July 1 will allow cameras to catch people using their mobile phones while driving. []

Vocus latest telco to compensate customers for poor NBN speeds

Vocus, whose brands include iPrimus, Dodo and Commander, will compensate a number of its fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the basement (FTTB) customers who were sold NBN services with maximum speeds that their lines were not capable of achieving. [ComputerWorld]

‘What gets measured gets done’

The Chiefs for Gender Equity work to progress sustainable change to increase the participation of women at the highest levels of industry. This group has recently released a guide to setting and measuring gender equity goals for business, to support leaders in any organisation to set practical measures for improving gender equality.

Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award 2018 – Winner Sarah Gun

This award recognises an outstanding woman who has made a great contribution to the community, is part of the Australia Day awards and honours and is jointly coordinated by the Office for Women.

Y Connect Program

Julia Farr MS Mcleod Benevolent Fund is pleased to announce a new project assisting women living with disability to gain employment.

Affordable Homes Program: A fresh, new website PLUS property listings delivered straight to your inbox (June 2018)

Promoting Sport as a Philanthropic Cause in Australia (Pro Bono Australia) 6 June 2018

Community Support Renews Pressure on Major Parties to Raise Newstart (Pro Bono Australia) 6 June 2018

Countering the Challenge of Closing Civic Space (Pro Bono Australia) 7 June 2018

Fewer Australians Giving and White Supremacy in the NGO Sector (Pro Bono Australia) 14 June 2018

Local Councils Across Australia Support Raise to Newstart (Pro Bono Australia) 14 June 2018

Campaign: Ban Sneaky Late Payment Fees on your energy bills (CHOICE) June 2018