Better Hearing Sunshine Coast partners with council
  • Wednesday 22 December 2010

Sunshine Coast Council has teamed up with Better Hearing Australia’s Sunshine Coast branch to assist members to communicate with council through a variety of non-phone channels.

Better Hearing Australia is a non-profit, self-help organisation run by individual branches and provides an Australia-wide community support and hearing loss management service.

Community Engagement and Governance Portfolio Councillor Christian Dickson said the new partnership would enable council to better understand the needs of hearing impaired persons and create new or enhance existing communications forums and services.

“Council continues to look for new innovative ways to make communicating with one of our customer service operators easy and convenient for residents throughout the region, including community members with different or special needs,” he said.

Council currently offers a number of non-phone contact options including online forms (for council service requests, wheelie bin repairs or replacements and change of address updates), email, mail as well as the recently launched live web chat.

Council introduced the live web chat service in November to provide residents with a fast, easy to access option to ‘chat’ online with a customer service officer.

Secretary Better Hearing Sunshine Coast, Penny Philips said the group welcomed the new partnership and looked forward to working collaboratively with council.

“Many of our members are unable to hear on a normal phone, so we are always looking to find new options to communicate,” she said.

“The partnership with council developed after I used the new web chat service to make an enquiry to council. I was very impressed with the ease of use and speed of response to my queries and wanted to raise awareness of the benefits of the service with other hearing impaired members of the community.”

The new web chat service is accessible on the ‘Contact Council’ web page of council’s website. Users of the service ‘chat’ with a staff member via a simple online dialogue box. No special programs are required, other than internet access.

Better Hearing Australia branches provides assistance, information and training services to many thousands of Australians with hearing loss and disorders of the ear, and to their partners, family and friends and to those who work with people with hearing loss.

The organisation commenced in 1932 in Victoria, and now Better Hearing Australia has 16 branches throughout Australia. Each of these incorporated branches is independently managed.