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Yabun festival

Outreach: Yabun Festival 2020

On 26 January 2020 the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) held a stall at Yabun, the largest one-day gathering and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia.

Held on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people in Sydney’s Victoria Park, the event showcased Indigenous artists, musicians and traditional performers, as well and hosted panel discussions and community forums on Indigenous issues.

Outreach work is an important element of the TIO’s commitment to providing an accessible dispute resolution service. Navanita Bhattacharya, Senior Advisor for Equality Diversity and Inclusion, was part of the team who attended Yabun Festival.

“For me, the greatest takeaway from Yabun was the reiteration that human connection is vital. What people of all ages, cultures and abilities look for in a service such as the TIO is the ‘voice’ at first contact – a voice that says, ‘you are important; your problem is valid; we will help you in the best possible way.’”

Navanita found that many who passed by the stall, especially the elderly, thanked the TIO for a quick and fair resolution of their phone and internet problems, the common theme being poor quality customer service. “Many parents or carers stopped at our stall, and several urged their children to ask what ‘Ombudsman’ meant. Our test was to explain it in a simple language understandable by kids – and we succeeded!

“We simply said, when you have a problem with your phone or internet, and it does not get solved by the company, your provider, you come to us.”

The TIO has been attending Yabun Festival for over 10 years, reaching out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to raise awareness of our dispute resolution services and to listen to questions and stories shared by festival attendees.

Yabun, meaning ‘music to a beat’ in Gadigal language, offered an opportunity for the TIO to connect with consumers and provide assistance with resolving phone and internet issues. More importantly, it was an opportunity to honour the world’s oldest living culture.