ACMA’s compliance and enforcement approach | ACMA

ACMA’s compliance and enforcement approach

The ACMA is responsible for ensuring industry compliance within the unsolicited communications space.

The ACMA takes a risk-based, graduated and proportionate approach to compliance. This means we generally work to first achieve compliance outcomes through education and direct contact.

Where we identify potential compliance issues through intelligence, including consumer complaints, we contact identifiable businesses and provide them with an opportunity to comply.

We will consider formal investigation for situations of serious, repeat, systemic, wide-spread indications of non-compliance, which may result in significant penalties.

As part of a responsive approach to promoting compliance, we identify industry sectors and issues for regulatory focus by considering the risk of potential harms.

Consumers can make a complaint to the ACMA, including anonymously, with information then logged in our complaint databases. This information helps us to identify and act on serious, ongoing and wide-spread compliance issues.

Enforcement actions

If the ACMA finds a breach of Australia’s telemarketing and spam rules, a number of enforcements may apply. The ACMA’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy sets out relevant considerations in reaching enforcement decisions.

  • Proceedings in the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court—the ACMA may apply to the Federal Court or Federal Magistrates Court to obtain civil penalty orders, injunctive relief, and orders to enforce an enforceable undertaking.
  • Infringement notice—the ACMA can give an infringement notice under Schedule 3 to the DNCR Act 2006 (DNCR Act) or Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act). This is a financial penalty. An infringement notice is an efficient way to deal with minor breaches of the legislation and is given by the ACMA as an alternative to proceedings in the Federal Court. More information can be found in the ACMA’s Infringement Notice Guidelines.
  • Enforceable undertaking—the ACMA can accept an enforceable undertaking (under section 572B of the Telecommunications Act 1997 or section 38 of the Spam Act from a person to engage in, or refrain from, certain activities. They are enforceable by the Federal Court and can be accepted at any time, including during or following an investigation.
  • Formal warning—issued under section 40 of the DNCR Act or section 41 of the Spam Act. Formal warnings are published by the ACMA and places a business or person on notice that stronger enforcement action may be taken if compliance issues are not rectified.

Where can I find out more about the laws?

Australia’s rules for unsolicited communications—spam and telemarketing—are set out in the:

Further information:

Last updated: 26 March 2019