The Government is reviewing Australia’s telecommunications consumer safeguards to prepare the framework for a post-2020 environment.

The consumer safeguards we have in place today were mostly designed around fixed-line voice services delivered over the existing copper telephone network. The ongoing relevance and usefulness of these protections is decreasing as Australia's telecommunications environment and consumer use of telecommunications services continue to change.

The government has released the terms of reference for a review to prepare the telecommunications consumer protections framework for a post-2020 environment. The NBN will have rolled out to all Australian homes and businesses, changing the telecommunications landscape.

The Consumer Safeguards Review is being undertaken in three parts:
Part A: redress and complaints handling
Part B: reliability of telecommunications services
Part C: choice and fairness in the retail relationship between the customer and their provider.

Part A

The government has released a report on the outcomes of Part A: Redress and Complaints Handling. The Review's findings identify a comprehensive range of reforms designed so consumer telco service issues can be resolved quickly and effectively.

The former Minister for Communications and the Arts has requested that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) voluntarily implement, within 12 months, the recommendations that are within the TIO's existing scope of powers. We are working closely with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and industry to deliver on the remaining recommendations.

Consultation on Part A of the Review was undertaken between 5 July and 16 August 2018. During that period, interviews were conducted and submissions were received from a variety of stakeholders which helped shape the Review's recommendations.

Part B

Following the release of a consultation paper on 15 November 2018, the government sought submissions and consulted with industry, consumers and key stakeholders on existing reliability measures and how they can be improved to deliver improved outcomes to consumers.

On 17 December 2019 the Government released the report for Part B: reliability of services—Consumer Safeguards Review—Final report. The report recommends:

  • wholesale level regulation of connections, repairs, and appointment keeping timeframes to underpin whole of industry performance on connecting and repairing individual services
  • retail level requirements for clear consumer information around any service commitments from retailers together with transparency of performance
  • further consideration of well targeted and sustainable arrangements to maximise connectivity for medically vulnerable consumers, and
  • addressing existing reliability safeguards of limited and declining relevance.

We are now engaging with industry, consumer groups and regulators to progress the recommendations.

Part C

The consultation paper for Part C (choice and fairness) will follow shortly.

Part A: consumer redress and complaints handling. Part B: reliability of services. Part C: choice and fairness.

Terms of Reference - Telecommunications Consumer Safeguards Review

Published

Download PDF (165.09 KB) Download DOC (105.54 KB)
The Australian telecommunications industry has undergone extensive transformation over the last 20 years, driven by new technologies, increased competition, rapidly changing consumer preferences and the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Government is reviewing Australia’s existing consumer safeguards and has released a terms of reference for the review.