Boost to Australian telco consumer protections

Summary:New laws will boost protections for telecommunication customers, including those who don't want to receive telemarketing calls.

A bill introduced in the lower house on Thursday adopts recommendations from two departmental reviews into the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme and the process for registering industry codes.

Government frontbencher Anthony Albanese told parliament that the amendments would further strengthen consumer protections.

Mr Albanese said that one of the changes would give the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), more powers to deal with unsolicited telemarketing calls and marketing faxes.

Another change was to the role and standards of operation of the ombudsman, which will have to adhere to rules determined by the minister and for the scheme to be independently reviewed.

Such reviews must include consultation with the public, the ombudsman, and the regulator, and a final report must be published with the TIO to respond to any recommendations within six months.

"The amendments in the bill have the support of industry, the industry regulator, consumer advocates, and other industry stakeholders," Mr Albanese said.

Debate on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Consumer Protection) Bill 2013 was adjourned.

Topics: Telcos, Australia

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