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On 13 July 2021, the Australian Government opened consultation on options for regulatory reforms and voluntary incentives to strengthen the cyber security of Australia’s digital economy.

ACCAN made a submission in response to the Strengthening Australia’s cyber security regulations and incentives discussion paper. ACCAN submitted that:

ACCAN responded to the Federal Government’s consultation on the grant guidelines for the Peri-Urban Mobile Program. The program is designed to deliver funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire prone areas on the peri-urban fringe of major cities.

As part of its ongoing commitment to fighting spam, the ACMA invited ACCAN to make a submission commenting on the necessity of maintaining regulatory control of unsolicited fax marketing. Since the introduction of the Fax Marketing Industry Standard 2011, the number of consumer complaints about fax marketing spam has declined dramatically, with only 146 complaints in the last ten years, and most of those prior to 2014. The 2011 Standard is due to sunset on 1 October 2021, and ACCAN agreed with the ACMA’s proposal to replace the existing 2011 Standard with a 2021 Standard which retains all the existing consumer protections.

ACCAN is keenly following the scope of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms activities as there are clear implications, both positive and negative, for consumers in many of these areas under review. Unarguably, the increased convergence of digital technologies can provide significant benefits for both individuals and the broader community when the appropriate competition and consumer protections are in place. ACCAN is supportive of competitive and efficient markets that provide consumers choice and confidence.

ACCAN recently submitted to the Digital Identity Legislation Phase 2 consultation. While ACCAN welcomed several of the provisions included in the draft legislation we had concerns about the following:

The Consumer Data Right, also known as the CDR, is a new law designed to give consumers greater access and control of their own data and more readily compare and switch between products and services, which encourages competition between services providers.

The CDR allows consumers to direct their data to be shared from their existing service provider through a secure online system with a new provider of their choice. To receive CDR data, data recipients need to become accredited.

NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking (SAU) is a key part of the nbn’s regulatory framework. The SAU determines how much nbn can charge for wholesale phone and internet services and provides the framework for non-price issues to help ensure the nbn works in a way that protects the long-term interest of consumers.

On the 18th June ACCAN attended an industry roundtable hosted by the ACCC. The purpose of this roundtable was to discuss the regulatory arrangements for the nbn that could be established under the revised SAU – Special Access Undertaking. The ACCC prepared a framing paper prior to the roundtable. In response to the framing paper, ACCAN:

In July 2021 Treasury released exposure draft amendments to the Consumer Data Right rules and explanatory materials for consultation (version 3 of the rules).

The Treasury’s exposure draft amendments changed the CDR Rules to “reduce barriers for participation in open banking” and “increase participation in the CDR by data recipients and consumers” by:

ACCAN recently submitted to the ACCC regarding an authorisation application for members of the Telco Together Foundation (TTF) to work collaboratively to reduce modern slavery.

The authorisation would allow TTF members to engage in conduct that would normally be viewed as anticompetitive and illegal. Under the authorisation, collaborative conduct would be allowed in relation to specific activities necessary to identify and address modern slavery within telecommunications industry supply chains.

Nbn Co sought feedback on the second consultation paper of its wholesale pricing review. Earlier in 2021, ACCAN provided feedback to its first consultation paper.

In our response to nbn Co’s second consultation paper ACCAN explained that we would not like to see wholesale costs for residential customers increase, due to the flow on impact that wholesale price increases can have on consumers. As such, in our response ACCAN supported:

ACCAN recently responded to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications inquiry into the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill 2021. This Bill proposes amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, including in relation to subscription television captioning rules.

In our submission ACCAN stated that the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 remains the most appropriate place for captioning requirements to be set out. We recommended broader amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to embed the same levels of access features (including captioning, audio description and Auslan interpreting) across all subscription, video on demand, commercial free-to-air and national broadcasters. We made a similar recommendation in response to the Media Reform Green Paper.