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ACCAN recently submitted to the Australia Disability Strategy 2021-2031 (the Strategy) Guiding Principles consultation. The Strategy provides a 10-year plan for improving the lives of Australians with disability. The guiding principles inform the policies/programs/services introduced by governments and businesses to implement the Strategy. This submission was informed by ACCAN’s consultation with our members and was endorsed by Vision Australia, Blind Citizens Australia and Deaf Australia.

ACCAN submitted the following:

The Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP) is an Australian Government initiative that aims to deliver improved mobile coverage and competition through investing in regional, rural, and remote telecommunications infrastructure. Across Australia, the MBSP has provided over 1,270 new mobile base stations, with 1,047 base stations activated in October 2022. In addition to generating more than $875 million in investment.1

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) recently commented on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (the Department) request for feedback on the grant opportunity guidelines for a new Improving Mobile Coverage Round of the MBSP. In our submission, ACCAN suggested that the Department should:

ACCAN recently submitted to Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill.

ACCAN supports the proposed amendments that will:

ACCAN recently commented on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Amending the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 consultation. The numbering plan sets out the framework for managing numbers.

In our submission we expressed our support for amendments to the numbering plan, including:

  • The introduction of the 7226 Scam Short Code to provide consumers and industry with a means to report scam texts and calls.
  • Granting the ACMA extended powers to withdraw numbers that it believes to have been associated with scam communications.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) recently commented on the C555:2020 Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) Industry Code. The IPND provides an important public asset for emergency calls, emergency warnings and law enforcement. Noting the critical role of the IPND, ACCAN continues to have concerns with respect to:

  • Data accuracy for the purposes of emergency calls, emergency warnings and law enforcement.
  • Consumer awareness of the IPND and making the IPND Code more understandable.

At present, there are ongoing issues with accuracy of Public Number Customer Data (PNCD), with several compliance issues compromising the accuracy of the PNCD in the IPND. ACCAN remains concerned by potential gaps in the IPND and the repeated failure by Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) to upload PNCD to the IPND.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) recently commented on the Treasury’s Exposure draft legislation to enable action initiation in the Consumer Data Right. The action initiation scheme allows trusted third parties to make requests with the same authority as if they had come directly from the consumer.

Our submission

  • expressed our support for the introduction of action initiation into the Consumer Data Right (CDR). Action initiation will allow for trusted third parties to undertake actions on behalf of consumers such as making payments, closing or transfer accounts and updating personal details.
  • suggested that the scheme should be developed and implemented in close consultation with consumers and their representatives. This would reduce potential harms from existing telecommunications issues such as cyber security and domestic and family violence (DFV).

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) recently commented on the Treasury’s Consumer Data Right rules - expansion to the telecommunications sector and other operational enhancements. In our submission we expressed our support for:

ACCAN has responded to the Productivity Commission’s interim report 5-year productivity Inquiry: Australia’s data and digital dividend. The report explores common barriers to technology and digital adoption and acknowledges the benefits to productivity of increasing digitisation.

ACCAN recently commented on the Consolidated Industry Codes of Practice for the Online Industry (Class 1A and Class 1B Material). In general, we welcome measures that contribute to a safe online environment, empower consumers, and provide transparency and accountability. However, ACCAN expressed our concern over the constricted time frame for public consultation. The Industry Codes of Practice represent a significant undertaking in internet regulation and for them to be effective in their aims and to minimise consumer harm, consumer consultation cannot be an afterthought.

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts has consulted on the draft exposure of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Statutory Infrastructure Providers and Other Measures) Bill 2022. The Bill strengthens the Statutory Infrastructure Provider (SIP) regime, which aims to ensure all Australians have access to modern broadband services.

ACCAN supports the key changes proposed in the bill:

ACCAN recently submitted to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice regarding their proposal to draft a nationally consistent scheme for access to digital records upon death or loss of decision-making capacity. We are aware that access to digital records and digital legacy planning is a challenge for consumers and we support a scheme that simplifies matters for consumers and offers them control of, and access to, their digital records. We expressed our preference for a national scheme to provide consumers and digital providers across Australia with the clearest course of action.

ACCAN recently responded to the ACMA’s Proposed Telecommunications Mobile Equipment Air Interface Standard and consequential amendments to associated instrument consultation.

We supported the proposed update of the Standard as it will provide greater consumer protection and trust in 5G mobile equipment and services.