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Paper bill fees slug poor and pensioners

Friday, 24 March 2017
By Jake Nelson

Keep Me Posted public forum in Belconnen, ACT.

Andrew Leigh MP, shadow assistant treasurer, has said the ‘unfair’ practice of companies charging fees for customers to receive paper bills disproportionately hits the poor, elderly and vulnerable.

Andrew Leigh MP.

Leigh hosted Kellie Northwood of TSA Limited, and Colin Ormsby from Fair Go for Pensioners, at a public forum in Canberra this morning to throw his support behind the Keep Me Posted campaign. “In 2017, numerous banks, telecommunication companies and other service providers are pressuring their customers to accept electronic bills and statements, even though many Canberra residents find it difficult or impossible to access their papers online,” he said.

Leigh, who represents the division of Fenner in the northern ACT, says that the practice of charging fees for paper bills hurts pensioners and others who don’t have or can’t use the internet in their homes. “We know that these fees are disproportionately hitting those who can least afford it and are particularly unfair on our elderly community members and vulnerable Australians to be charged with extra fees that can easily stretch to hundreds of dollars a year.

“ACT residents should be entitled to choose printed communications without risking a penalty from their corporate service providers,” he said.

Kellie Northwood, Two Sides

Kellie Northwood, executive director of Keep Me Posted, said the standing-room-only forum was a ‘terrific’ result for the campaign. “Hearing communities share the importance of paper and print to their lives provides great insight to the strength of the print and mail industries in Australia.”

Northwood vowed to take the fight to Parliament. “Politicians across the board are hearing a united voice which is critical to our lobbying objectives. Next step is to seek a Senate Inquiry and push for legislative change. People having to pay a fee because they opt for a paper bill is nonsensical,” she said.

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