Earlier this month, TIO staff celebrated NAIDOC Week with a morning tea and a talk from Ms Rose Falla, Victoria’s first Indigenous magistrate.
NAIDOC Week, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, is an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.
Ombudsman Simon Cohen acknowledged the Wiradjuri people, who are the traditional owners of the land where TIO’s office in Melbourne is located. He also welcomed Ms Falla to the TIO.
Ms Falla, a Wotjobaluk woman, spoke about her Aboriginal ancestry, Victoria’s Aboriginal history and the significance of the NAIDOC Week celebrations. Ms Falla also talked about her experiences as a magistrate working in the Magistrate Courts and Koori Courts and about the challenges some Indigenous consumers face when dealing with telco services. These include:
- some Indigenous consumers not understanding contracts and the consequences of not fulfilling a contract
- the failure by some providers to properly assess the most appropriate package for consumers and their capacity to pay for communication services, and
- the lack of mobile coverage in remote areas.
Reaching out to Indigenous consumers
NAIDOC Week has been an excellent opportunity for TIO to reflect on our work with Indigenous communities:
- In May 2015, we launched a toolkit with resources to help community workers in remote Indigenous communities explain the role of the TIO in resolving telco complaints. We have also visited Indigenous communities in Northern Territory, far north Queensland and South Australia.
- We have an Indigenous Liaison Team made up of a cross-section of dispute resolution staff skilled at assisting Indigenous consumers in a culturally sensitive way.
- All dispute resolution staff received diversity awareness training that included understanding Indigenous consumers. The training covered:
For more information or to discuss outreach opportunities please contact the Community Relations Manager, Phillip Money, on 03 8600 8738 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- the diversity of the Indigenous community
- the importance of intermediaries in dispute resolution
- the difficulties faced by remote communities, and
- how staff can use the Aboriginal Interpreter Service to overcome communication barriers.