Consultation on consumer representation in the telecommunications industry
25 October 2016
The Department of Communications and the Arts
has released an issues paper inviting submissions on the effectiveness of
section 593 of the Telecommunications Act 1997, under which the
Government provides funding for telecommunications consumer representation and
Australia’s telecommunications landscape has
changed dramatically since section 593 was enacted in 1997. As the National
Broadband Network rollout continues to gather pace and consumers are presented
with an ever-increasing variety of telecommunications options, consumers can
face challenges in finding the right products and services to meet their needs.
This review provides an opportunity to assess
whether section 593 remains fit-for-purpose in an evolving telecommunications
market, or if improvements could be made for the benefit of consumers.
With the Australian Communications Consumer
Action Network’s (ACCAN) current five-year funding agreement due to conclude in
May 2017, now is an appropriate time to invite feedback on the effectiveness of
both ACCAN itself and section 593 of the Act to ensure that consumer interests
remain well-represented into the future.
ACCAN is currently the sole recipient of
funding under section 593. ACCAN’s activities include representing consumers in
consultation processes, conducting research and providing information and
advice to assist consumers in making informed decisions.
The issues paper poses questions across three
Consumer representation and the
effectiveness of ACCAN,
The independent grants program and
research, currently administered by ACCAN,
The scope of Section 593 of the Act, and
whether other activities should be funded beyond consumer representation and
The Government is committed to ensuring
effective representation for consumers of telecommunications services in an
evolving telecommunications market. Any changes made as a result of the review
will be evaluated in terms of whether they provide better outcomes for
The Government is seeking feedback on the
issues paper by 25 November 2016.
The issues paper, and details on how to make a
submission, are available at: www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/consumer-representation-review-accan.