by Byron Connolly

DTO refuses to meet peak Internet body

Nov 18, 2015

Internet Australia has described a refusal by the government’s Digital Transformation Office (DTO) to meet with the peak body representing Internet users as ‘incredibly frustrating.’

Internet Australia said it is just one of several civil society and industry groups that are finding DTO’s door is shut when it comes to stakeholder engagement.

“We asked for a meeting were told to come back next year,” CEO, Laurie Patton, said in a statement. “They said they were too busy to see us.”

Patton said expert organisations such as Internet Australia would be better able to assist if they were involved from the outset in the ‘formative stages’ of DTO’s operations rather than later on when their plans and initiatives have been locked in.

“The message was that they’ve ended up with a two-class system. It’s fine for people who have access to the Internet and are digitally-savvy, but disadvantaged groups and individuals who are not concerned are now struggling to get access to essential government services,” he said.

He said Internet Australia had made several attempts to talk to the new CEO, Paul Shelter, since he arrived earlier in the year.

“We simply want to make sure the community’s interests are taken into account and that this doesn’t just turn into a cost saving exercise for government departments,” he said.

Internet Australia wants the federal government to bring forward a review of the Data Retention Act, citing implementation issues flowing from badly drafted and confusing legislation.

“The data retention law came into effect in the middle of last month but less than half of the ISPs caught by the legislation had even managed to submit their plans to the Attorney General’s Department,” he said.

“The situation is further compounded by a lack of information regarding the allocation of the budgeted compensation for ISPs.

“Our ISP members are concerned at the failure to so far provide any indication of how the government intends to allocate the funding provided in the 2015 Budget to compensate them for the costs associated with their compliance with the Act. They are having to incur costs in setting up systems to comply with the Act without any idea how much funding, if any, they will receive”.

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