Issue No 15 : 19 June 2023
2023 ACOMMS FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
Communications Alliance is proud to announce the 2023 finalists in the communications industry's premier awards for excellence, the ACOMMS, which recognise exemplary achievement across 13 categories of endeavour.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Australian Space Industry Awards
Best Digital Platform
Best Mobile Solution
Commitment to Customer Service
Contribution to Society
Cyber Security & Online Safety Innovation
Diversity and Inclusion
Services to Industry - Professional Services
Regulatory Expert Michael Cosgrave Appointed as Independent Adviser on the TCP Code ReviewCommunications Alliance (CA) has announced the appointment of regulatory expert Michael Cosgrave as Independent Adviser (IA) on the revision of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.
Mr Cosgrave held senior managerial positions with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for 25 years until August 2021, and was the most senior ACCC official on telecommunications for two decades. More recently, he has provided consultancy and advisory services to both government and corporate clients, with a principal focus being the provision of independent assurance of transparency of process and compliance with the principles of operation. Relevant recent roles include his appointment by the Australian Government to the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.
The position of Independent Adviser, (TCP) Code Review, has been established by the Communications Alliance Board of Directors, to actively monitor and provide advice on the TCP Code revision process, and specifically to verify whether it is fair, reasonable and appropriately transparent, in line with specific terms as identified in the TCP Code Review IA Terms of Reference.
The role includes the ability for the Independent Adviser to directly engage with all stakeholders, including consumer representatives and regulatory agencies, and provide regular reports to the CA Board on the revision process.
Commenting on the appointment, Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said,
“We are delighted that Michael has agreed to take on this new and important role.
“His unquestioned independence and his extensive experience in the telecommunications space while at the ACCC – and since – will bolster the revision process and give additional confidence to stakeholders.”
The IA will also advise CA management and the Board about concerns and provide suggestions as to how they might be reasonably addressed.
Finally, the IA will offer a written report to the ACMA at the time that the revised draft Code is submitted to the Authority for consideration for registration, addressing the adequacy of the consultation process, including the manner in which the final drafting addresses key issues identified during the process.
The TCP Code is a detailed consumer protection instrument, enforceable by the ACMA, that sets minimum customer protection requirements for the direct interactions between service providers and their residential and small business mobile, landline and internet customers. Key areas covered include advertising and sales, service and contracts, billing, credit and debt management, financial hardship and changing suppliers.
The overarching intent of the Code revision is to ensure that the Code is up-to-date and that it provides fit-for-purpose consumer safeguards. Although all aspects of the Code will be considered, a particular focus will be provisions designed to protect vulnerable consumers; the inclusion in the Code of key clauses from the industry’s substantially revised and strengthened Guideline, G660:2023: Assisting Consumers Affected by Domestic and Family Violence, to make those provisions enforceable, has already been announced.
The revision will also consider whether appropriate new performance metrics for providers should be incorporated into the Code.
Michael Cosgrove’s short biography, along with Terms of Reference for the position of IA and detailed information about the TCP Code review and revision process currently underway, is available on the CA website.
Comms Alliance Proposes Regulatory Reform Package The Communications Alliance Board of Directors has endorsed a package of draft regulatory and legislative reform proposals, designed to improve the telco regulatory framework while preserving the strengths of co-regulation.
The Board has suggested that the Telecommunications Act 1997 (and other legislation/regulation be amended as necessary) to provide:
Directors also proposed that industry and the ACMA commit resources to all steps of the development or review/revision of co-regulatory instruments (where possible) within a defined agreed timeframe.
Comments Sought on Scheduled Reviews
Communications Alliance is seeking comments for a scheduled review of the below documents.
G591:2006 Telecommunications in Road Reserves – Operational Guidelines for Installations provides guidance for Road Authorities and Carriers to manage their respective facilities in road reserves safely, effectively and efficiently. It provides guidance on co-ordination, considerations for positioning telecommunications facilities in road reserves, attachment of telecommunications facilities to road authority structures, planning and sharing information.
Comments received will be considered by representatives of stakeholders, to prepare a specific recommendation for Communications Alliance. The outcome of the review will be a decision to revise, reconfirm or withdraw the Code / Guideline.
Updated Requirements to Assist in the Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications
Communications Alliance is pleased to advise the registration of a revised C525:2023 Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications industry code. Industry participants are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the updated procedures.
Below is a list of currently open telecommunications-related consultations being conducted by Government and other organisations that provide an opportunity for you to have your say.