Telecommunications services are essential services – but are not regulated as such despite their critical role across the country. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this plan to reform an industry that currently operates in a regulatory framework that is not suitable for the twenty-first century.
As a community legal centre based in Victoria, Consumer Action regularly receives calls to our legal advice lines and to our financial counsellors operating on the National Debt Helpline from people experiencing issues with their telecommunications providers. Many of these issues relate to unacceptable sales, hardship and customer service practices common to the sector.
We regularly see examples of these practices creating or compounding financial distress, often for people already experiencing vulnerable circumstances, resulting in digital, social and economic exclusion in Australia.
We have commented on the Private Members Bill based off our experiences and systemic issues highlighted through our advice lines and casework.
Read a summary of our recommendations and the full submission (PDF).211124 CALC response to telco reform bill FINAL