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Morrison Government puts telco consumers first

The Morrison Government has today announced 32 recommendations to further protect telco consumers. 

The recommendations are contained in Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review which include strengthening the Australia’s Telecommunications Ombudsman. The findings also look to improve the handling of customer complaints and increase the transparency of complaints data to drive the telco industry toward improved customer service. 

The three part review, announced in April 2018 examines how to better protect telco customers in a landscape that has seen massive change over the last two decades. Twenty years ago, approximately 35 per cent of Australian homes had a broadband connection. By 2020, 100 per cent of homes will be able to connect through the NBN.

Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said the Morrison Government was putting consumers first. 

“The consumer safeguards we have in place today are designed around the old telephone network. The ongoing relevance and usefulness of these protections is diminishing as Australia’s telecommunications environment and consumer use evolves” he said. 

Today’s Part A Recommendations: Consumer Redress and Complaints Handling will strengthen the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) by improving its governance, operations and relationship with the telco regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The consultation paper for Part B: Reliability of Telecommunications Services was also released today and submissions are due by 21 December 2018. Part B of the Review is based on the fundamental principle that all Australians should be able to connect to, and stay connected to, a reliable fixed service. 

“Broadband is now considered as essential as electricity or water. Consumers expect to get connected and stay connected, and if something goes wrong, it needs to be fixed and fixed quickly”.

Part C of the consumer safeguards review will look at choice and fairness in the retail relationship between the customer and their provider. The consultation paper will be released in early 2019.

The full report and recommendations from Part A (redress and complaints handling), and the Part B discussion paper (service reliability) are available at: www.communications.gov.au/consumer-safeguards-review

Media contacts:

Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au 
Guy Creighton | 0438 815 302 | Guy.Creighton [at] communications.gov.au