6PR Perth: Mornings with Gary Adshead – Interview with Kellie Northwood

Adshead plays an audio clip of Jacqui Lambie talking to a press conference about the big businesses who are coming after the poor and charging them for ‘a piece of paper.’ She says the act was a ‘disgrace’ and very ‘unAustralian.’

Adshead says the press conference was about the issue of banks and other agencies charging Australians to receive a bill on paper. He mentions that the campaign ‘Keep Me Posted’ is all about the consumers’ right to make a choice as to whether they want an electronic bill or a paper bill.

Northwood says she was standing next to Lambie when she made the comments. Adshead says the bills sent out to consumers will charge them something between $1.70 and $3.20. Northwood says they found that the bills sent out by the big businesses are costing the consumers between 88 cents and $1.02. She says the lowest charge they have seen is $1.69. Northwood says the only explanation provided by the companies is that ‘the retail stamp price has gone up to $1.’ She says the big businesses pay 79.5 cents, not $1.

Adshead thinks the ACCC should look at the matter. Northwood says their next step is to reach out to the politicians. She says they have been trying to engage with big businesses, but they are not keen to reciprocate the move. Adshead says Independent Senator Nick Xenophon is very much on-board the situation. Northwood says Senator Xenophon will put out a legislation on charges on paper bills. She says that legislation will be explored next month when Parliament resumes.

Northwood says most European countries, as well as the Netherlands and Canada, have a legislation that does not allow companies to charge paper bills. She says people who have low income households, and those who are on disability pension and Newstart pension are twice or five times higher than the national average to not having an internet connection at home. Northwood says the most vulnerable people in the society are impacted the most.

Following the interview:
Caller John says there is additional profit associated with [paper bill]. He says people should not forget that the companies will be claiming the cost associated with the postage, noting they will be picking up any tax advantages associated with it.

Caller David says it is hard to work out on what is going with most vulnerable people. He mentions that poor people, in general, haven’t got technology at all. David says the situation is totally appalling and undemocratic. He says Kleenheat Gas is an example, mentioning there is a 10 per cent off one’s gas bill if he signs up for paperless billing. Adshead says there is still a big cross section of people that haven’t done everything through online billing and payments. He says he does not understand the concept of paperless billing.

Caller Sam talks about the Coles Credit Cards. He says he was informed that he will be charged 50 cents per month if he wants his bills to arrive via electronic mail. Sam says he got the card but pays nothing for the bills.

Caller Sue says she recently went to a Telstra store to pay cash for her phone bill, but she received a fee for paying cash in a store. She says the bill described the charge as a Non EFT payment.

Source: 6PR Perth – 26 July 2016