1 September 2006
Do Not Call Register - ACMA seeks comments on request for tender
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released an exposure draft of the request for tender for the development and operation of a national Do Not Call Register.
‘Potential register operators and other interested parties have an opportunity to comment on a draft of the request for tender before it is finalised and released. ACMA is seeking feedback that will contribute to the clarity and practicability of the request for tender,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.
The closing date for comments is Monday 18 September 2006. The request for tender will be released as soon as possible thereafter.
Organisations that plan to tender for the role as Do Not Call Register operator are encouraged to comment on the draft request for tender. However, they are not required to comment and will not be disadvantaged if they do not provide comment.
ACMA will use the final tender to select a suitably qualified and experienced individual organisation, or consortium, to develop and operate the Do Not Call Register which is due to go live not later than May 2007. The register operator will be responsible for:
- building, commissioning, keeping, operating and administering the register;
- promoting and raising awareness of the register; and
- handling complaints and enquiries about the register’s operation.
Responsibility for overseeing the register’s operation and for investigating breaches of the Do Not Call Register legislation will remain with ACMA.
Once the Do Not Call Register is set up, individuals with Australian fixed line and mobile numbers will be able to list their numbers on it. It will be illegal for any non-exempt telemarketer in Australia and overseas to contact a number listed in the register.
Comments on the draft must be made in writing to ACMA by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Grant Symons Executive Manager, Converging Services Branch ACMA PO Box 13112 Law Courts Melbourne VIC 8010.
The draft request for tender, together with regular updates on the development of the Do Not Call Register and the associated telemarketing industry standard, can be found on the ACMA website at www.acma.gov.au/donotcall
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980.
In responding to the increasing levels of community concern about the growth in unsolicited telemarketing calls, the Australian Government announced the establishment of a Do Not Call Register scheme. The legislation to establish the Do Not Call Register received Royal Assent on 30 June 2006.
Under the legislation, ACMA is responsible for establishing and overseeing the operation of the Do Not Call Register and for developing and establishing national standards for minimum levels of conduct by telemarketers.
The government announced funding of $33.1 million has been provided over four years for the development and implementation of the register. $15.9 million will be recovered from the telemarketing industry through the payment of fees to access the register over this period. Full cost recovery of the register’s operating costs is intended to occur from the fourth year of operation.
The Do Not Call Register will allow individuals to register their home and mobile numbers in order to opt out of receiving most unsolicited telemarketing calls. There will be no cost to the applicants for registering their telephone numbers on the register.
Telemarketers who wish to make telemarketing calls will need to have their calling lists checked by the register operator against phone numbers registered on the register and ‘washed’ to ensure that they do not contact numbers of individuals who have opted out.
The legislation allows a number of limited exemptions to the prohibition to enable certain public interest organisations to make telemarketing calls. Exemptions also apply where the account holder has consented to a call or where consent can be reasonably inferred.
For more information about the legislation, refer to the Explanatory Memorandum to the Do Not Call Register Bill 2006 at www.comlaw.gov.au
Development of ACMA determinations about the register
ACMA will issue discussion papers in November 2006 inviting industry participants and the wider community to provide feedback and insights on how the register should be administered and accessed. This consultation, together with responses to the RFT, will inform ACMA’s development of the legislative determinations relating to the operation of and access to the register provided for under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006.
ACMA will also consult with industry on fees payable for accessing the register.
Development of a telemarketing industry standard
In conjunction with the development of the Do Not Call Register, a national telemarketing industry standard is being developed.
A draft discussion paper on the telemarketing industry standard is currently available for comment with submissions due by 8 September 2006. The industry standard will apply to all ‘telemarketing activity’, as defined in Section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. Broadly speaking, it encompasses any call to an Australian number that is made to market, advertise or promote goods and services. The telemarketing industry standard will apply to all telemarketers, whether or not they are exempt from the Do Not Call Register.
Industry and public education
A critical factor in the successful implementation of the Do Not Call Register will be the development and conduct of an education program to raise awareness of the register and the telemarketing standard. ACMA is developing a communications strategy for both industry and consumers.