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The Federal Government (Department of Communications) is conducting a review of the communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Many changes have occurred in communications in the last 10 years, and this pace is set to continue. The review is focused on the objectives, functions, structure, governance and resourcing needed for a future communications regulator to remain relevant and fit for purpose.

The focus of ACCAN's submission is the role of a future regulator on consumer interests. Communications services are essential to participation in society, and barriers to access can severely impact consumers and small businesses. This calls for an active regulator with appropriate tools to achieve its goals, adequate resourcing, and a high level of expertise. Changes in industry structure over the next decade will require a full suite of regulatory, co-regulatory, self-regulatory and other responses by the regulator, when the market alone cannot deliver for consumers. The regulator will continue to play a crucial role in consumer protection and community safeguards, but must be well informed with deep market intelligence, prepared to lead and respond swiftly to deliver efficient and effective regulatory responses when needed.

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