Telecommunications companies will be levied by the Gillard Government to ensure the continued existence of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).
Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced a new five-year funding deed has been agreed that will provide ACCAN with more than $2 million a year up to 2017.
The funding is delivered through a levy on telecommunications companies.
It has been introduced to ensure that consumers continue to be strongly protected and represented in the telecommunications sector, according to Conroy.
“Since its inception in 2009, ACCAN has established itself as a well-regarded and effective organisation representing telecommunications consumers," he said. "A recent review has confirmed that it is helping to achieve a better deal for Australians.”
To further strengthen consumer protection in the telecommunications market, the Government is also providing the Australian Consumer and Media Authority (ACMA) with new powers.
“These powers allow the ACMA to make rules if they believe telecommunications companies are not addressing consumer issues adequately," Conroy said.
“They allow the ACMA to provide even stronger consumer protection, particularly for consumer issues that may emerge in the future.
“I congratulate Australia’s telecommunications industry for signing up to the Telecommunications Consumer Protection code, as well as agreeing to a comprehensive compliance regime.
“Issues such as bill shock should become a thing of the past under these new arrangements.”