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CapTel cuts to hit hearing impaired residents

The Morrison Government’s decision to cut CapTel services is causing significant stress for residents in Macarthur who rely on them to stay in touch with family and friends, says Dr Mike Freelander.

CapTel allows deaf and hearing impaired Australians to make and receive telephone calls using text relay via the National Relay Service (NRS).

As of February 1 next year, the government is ending access to CapTel and cutting NRS funding by 20 per cent.

Despite the average CapTel user being more than 80 years of age, a recent Senate hearing revealed the Morrison Government did not even consult CapTel users or their family members before deciding to cut the service.

“It is inexcusable that Scott Morrison would allow his government to treat elderly deaf Australians with such insensitivity and contempt,” says Dr Freelander, the federal member for Macarthur.

As an alternative, CapTel users are being told they must switch to legacy teletypewriters or smartphones to continue accessing the NRS, despite the community saying these alternatives are more difficult to use and not suited to their needs.

“The Morrison Government should not be imposing such decisions on a vulnerable segment of the community without consulting and understanding their needs,” Dr Freelander said.

“Elderly deaf Australians deserve better than this.”

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