Sunday, 8 November 2020

Rural & regional NSW needs practical support with QR codes to accommodate customers without smart phones and businesses with poor mobile coverage


Office of Labor MP for Lismore, media release, 5 November 2020:

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has called on the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to do more to help small businesses establish Quick Response (QR) code check-in systems in country areas where telecommunications remain sketchy.

Ms Saffin said she agreed with the general policy of rolling out QR code check-in systems to support COVID safety plans, particularly in the hospitality industry, ahead of the busy Christmas-New Year holiday season.

However, I am fed up with city-centric policies that do not take account of the reality of life in the country, including the fact that the Federal Government has yet to provide full mobile phone coverage in parts of the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands,” Ms Saffin said.

Many residents don’t own a smart phone but they still like to get out and socialise with family and friends at their favourite café, restaurant or pub.

These people might require a manual sign-in system and any statewide policy should be flexible enough to make some kind of allowance for this demographic.

The fact that the current policy is not inclusive makes the long-standing digital divide between city and country cousins even worse.”

Ms Saffin said the NSW Government should work with business owners in towns and villages located away from the coast to assist them to comply rather than wave a big stick by threatening them with fines or closure.

I have made representations to NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello on behalf of affected businesses in the Electorate of Lismore,” Ms Saffin said.

Business are trying their best to do the right thing so the Government needs to provide them with clear instructions, and in some cases, more hands-on assistance for those who are less tech-savvy.

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