Senate should demand Cost-Clarity from Government before Passing Data Retention LawsSydney, 23 March 2015 - Senators considering the Government’s data retention legislation this week should stand up for Australian telecommunications consumers and demand that the Government clarify what it will contribute to the cost of the scheme, Communications Alliance urged today.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said it was unreasonable for the Government to push for the legislation to be passed into law before providing detail on its commitment to contribute to up-front capital costs that consultants estimate could cost more than $319 million.
“We are not asking Senators to block the Bill, but simply to delay its passage until Government provides some detail about the contribution it has promised to make – given that telecommunication users will inevitably shoulder much of the burden of any Government shortfall,” Mr Stanton said.
Last week a broad coalition of the CEOs and senior executives of sixteen service providers wrote to Ministers to request that the Government clarify its promise – a request that so far appears to have elicited no response.
“Once the Bill passes the Senate any pressure on Government to make its promised “reasonable” or “substantial” contribution to the cost impost disappears – and Australian consumers are at the mercy of the Expenditure Review Committee,” Mr Stanton said.
The Government reported in its Autumn Repeal Day documentation, released last week, that the data retention regime was estimated to cost industry an additional $73.8 million per annum in increased compliance costs.
Mr Stanton said the Government should spell out the dollar value of its contribution, or at the very least the percentage of the total cost that it will contribute.
“The Government must also spell out how it proposes to apportion the funds among the hundreds of service providers that will have to invest in new systems to be able to comply with the data retention requirements.
“Genuine concerns have been expressed by smaller service providers that the costs being imposed by Government could limit their ability to compete in the market or drive them out of business.”
ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.
Its vision is to provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.
Media information contact:
Lucy Chamberlain firstname.lastname@example.org 0402 106 613