Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Consultation paper on Telecommunications Act penalties
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today released a consultation paper on proposed new penalties to be specified in infringement notices issued under the Telecommunications Act 1997.
“The Gillard Government is committed to ensuring basic standards are maintained for consumers in the telecommunications industry,” Senator Conroy said.
“The infringement notice regime is an important new tool the Government has recently provided the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enable it to better enforce compliance by telecommunications companies with regulatory requirements.
“Infringement notices will be particularly useful for ensuring compliance with the regulatory requirements that set benchmarks for meeting service standards relating to the provision of basic telephone services and public payphones.
“As indicated in the consultation paper, I am proposing to determine appropriately robust monetary penalties where service providers’ performance fails to meet the benchmarks.”
The consultation paper invites submissions on the Minister’s proposal to determine particular infringement notice penalties for the contravention of certain regulated performance levels and certain other regulatory requirements. The proposed penalties are higher than the standard infringement notice penalties that apply under the infringement notice regime.
The higher proposed penalties include a penalty of $990,000 which will apply to breaches of the performance benchmarks relating to the payphone Universal Service Obligation (USO) and the performance benchmarks relating to the retail performance standards under the Customer Service Guarantee.
The proposed penalties will apply equally across urban, rural, regional and remote parts of Australia. Submissions close 5pm on Monday, 19 September 2011. The consultation paper, which includes information about how to make submissions, is available at: www.dbcde.gov.au/broadband/national_broadband_network/telecommunications_regulatory_reform
Further information can be found at: Proposed Telecommunications (Infringement Notices) Declaration 2011 and infringement notice guidelines Consultation paper, August 2011, available at www.acma.gov.au A final decision on the infringement notice penalties will be made after the ACMA finalises its decision on the Telecommunications (Infringement Notices) Declaration 2011.
Date: 5 September, 2011
Contact: Lyall Johnson 0408 258 457