Issue No 25: 6 November 2019



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Complaints to Telcos Fall by More than 17%

Customer complaints to telecommunications suppliers have dropped by more than 17% during the past year, signalling a welcome improvement in performance across the industry.

Communications Alliance welcomed the results released today by the industry regulator, the ACMA, in its report on service provider complaint data for 2018-19.

“We agree with the regulator that these data show that ongoing industry efforts to improve customer service, cooperation, and customer experience are producing positive results,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

The ACMA’s report is part of its Record Keeping Rules, which cover complaints made directly to telecommunications providers.

“It is encouraging to note that more than 94% of the contacts were resolved by the service provider and therefore only about one in twenty resulted in a complaint being made to the industry ombudsman,” Mr Stanton said.

“It’s also pleasing that the average time taken to resolve complaints fell significantly throughout the year.

“We do agree, however, that complaint levels remain higher than they should be – the industry is committed to continuing the current trend of improvement.

“We anticipate the revised Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Industry Code, which came into force on 1 August, will continue to drive better results,” Mr Stanton concluded

Complaints to the TIO Continue to Decrease

Communications Alliance welcomes the TIO’s publication of its July- September 2019 quarterly report.

“It is pleasing that complaints to the TIO fell in the most recent quarter, compared to the previous two quarters,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

“This aligns with the trend in the ACMA’s RKR report published yesterday and the data in the TIO’s annual report,” said Mr Stanton.

“It’s also positive to see that 84% of complaints to the TIO were resolved on the first referral to providers.

“There is always room for improvement. Industry will continue working with the TIO and regulators to improve the customer experience,” concluded Mr Stanton.

The TIO’s move to quarterly reports aligns with Communications Alliance’s quarterly Complaints in Context report.

The first expanded Complaints in Context report will be published in early November, providing consumers with contextualised complaint data, and the ability to compare between participating providers, for the most recent quarter July – September.

Submission to Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy Discussion Paper

Communications Alliance has made a submission to the Department of Home Affairs Discussion Paper Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy.

The submission argues that the Discussion Paper is timely and indeed necessary to ensure that the approach to cyber security, including to legislation and regulation in this area, is coherent, proportionate, informed and consultative. It also highlights that a cyber security strategy is equally an important tool to foster a whole-of-society and economy-wide approach to cyber security which ought to form the cornerstone to identify, and subsequently remedy, educational, skills and awareness gaps in this area that may exist today.

Among other issues, the submission discusses the following concerns:

  • The complex matrix of Government departments and agencies with an interest in, or portfolio responsibilities relating to, cyber security which would benefit from streamlining and improved coordination of the current spread of agencies and programs and more focussed spending on a single national point of access.
  • The Discussion Paper appears to not place Australia’s strategy sufficiently into an international context and that further consideration ought to be given as to how the strategic approach envisaged for Australia relates to efforts in other nations.
  • In a policy context and against the background of legislative efforts over the past few years (TSSR, Data Retention Act, Assistance and Access Act, Abhorrent Violent Material Act), it appears that the creation of a legislative framework for cyber security, national security and online safety precedes the development of the cyber security strategy itself.
  • A tendency, as a default position, to shift responsibility – and the associated costs – for addressing cyber harms to the providers of such infrastructure. Australia needs a broad and balanced discussion on the principles and responsibilities for cyber security that ought to apply in an all-digital world. This discussion will also need to include the relationship of cyber/national security and privacy rights and civil liberties more generally.
  • A concern that bilateral sharing arrangements and partnerships between Government agencies and industry envisaged in theory have not always translated into effective collaboration in practice, and serious concerns regading the suggestion that Government potentially ought to be given the power to access and mange critical infrastructure and systems.

The submission further discusses educational challenges and the lack of skilled resources in the cyber security arena, the necessity to generate end-user-trust in an all-connected world, and the flexible co-regulatory frameworks that ought to underly this dynamic environment.

Communications Alliance Calls for Input to Review of Guideline G660:2018, Assisting Customers Experiencing Domestic and Family Violence

The Guideline is a reference document for how providers can assist customers who are experiencing domestic or family violence. It was published in October 2018, and provides a range of Communications Alliance will begin revising the document at the beginning of 2020. While the revision will be a consultative process, this input is vital to direct its scope and focus.

We are seeking input on experiences using the Guideline by both telecommunications suppliers and consumers, new information or practices to consider, or recommended changes. We welcome input from all relevant parties, including consumers, specialists in domestic and family violence services, law enforcement, and industry.

The current Guideline can be found here: https://www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents/all/guidelines/G660

To submit your input, you can use the Submit Comments form on our website, or send input or questions via email to info@commsalliance.com.au.


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