How to submit a complaint | ACMA

How to submit a complaint

The ACMA can accept a complaint if you believe a carrier has contravened clause(s) of the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code C564:2011. There are, however, a number of steps you should complete before submitting a complaint to the ACMA.

Before you begin, it’s important to remember that:

  • Consultation requirements do not apply to infrastructure subject to development approval (for example, free-standing mobile phone towers). In these cases, consultation requirements depend on the relevant council, state or territory planning laws and policies applicable to the specific development at the specific location.
  • The ACMA does not have a role in authorising or assessing a proposed facility installation. In addition, the carrier determines whether or not the proposed facility is considered a low-impact facility (LIF).
  • It’s not within the ACMA’s regulatory remit to stop the construction of a proposed facility or to have an existing facility relocated.

Step 1—formal complaint to the carrier

Your complaint to the carrier must be in writing and the carrier must acknowledge receipt of your complaint (in writing) within 10 working days of receiving your complaint.

To ensure a fair and transparent process to all parties concerned, the carrier must be given the opportunity to respond to your complaint in the first instance. If you require help to make a complaint, the carrier must take reasonable steps to provide you with appropriate assistance.

Note: a complaint does not include:

  • a request for information
  • any comments (or ‘submissions’) on proposed mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure received by a carrier during the consultation process.

Step 2—carrier investigation and response to formal complaint

The carrier must investigate the matters raised in your complaint, unless the carrier believes your complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith. If the carrier decides not to investigate a matter raised in your complaint, it must give you written notice of its decision and the reasons for its decision. Otherwise, the carrier must advise you of its investigation outcome (in writing) and any action it will take.

Step 3—action completed by carrier

This particular step depends on the type of facility concerned:

Facility type

Action completed by carrier

Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site (facilities that do not require developmental approval)

The final consultation report must be submitted to local council and published on the Radio Frequency National Site Archive website.

Free-standing mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site (facilities that require developmental approval)

The development application process must be completed and a final decision made in order to proceed with the facility.

Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at an existing site (for example, a low-impact facility)

A final decision about the proposed facility must be made by the carrier.

 

Low RF power mobile radiocommunications infrastructure and fixed radio links at a new or existing site (for example, a low-impact facility)

The carrier must complete its notification obligations.

 

Step 4—submitting a complaint to the ACMA

To ensure a fair and transparent process has occurred before the ACMA considers a complaint, the previous three steps should to be completed before lodging a complaint.

You should only lodge a complaint the form below to the ACMA if you believe the carrier has breached clause(s) of the code.

The code clause(s) applicable to each facility type are:

Facility type

Relevant clause/s

Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site (facilities that do not require developmental approval)

Clauses 4.1, 4.2, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

 

Free-standing mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site (facilities that require developmental approval)

Clauses 4.1, 4.2, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at an existing site (for example, a low-impact facility)

Clauses 4.2, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Low RF power mobile radiocommunications infrastructure and fixed radio links at a new or existing site (for example, a low-impact facility)

Clauses 4.1 (only for new sites), 4.2, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Step 5—the ACMA's preliminary assessment of a complaint

On receipt of your completed complaint form, the ACMA will undertake a preliminary assessment to determine whether a potential breach of the code has occurred and, if so, decide whether to commence a formal investigation under Part 26 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

In assessing your complaint, we may request further information from you, the carrier(s), your local council or other government agencies (if applicable).

Once we have completed our preliminary assessment, you, the carrier(s) and the Department of Communications and the Arts will be notified of the outcome. If we decide not to investigate, the reasons for that decision will be given.

Step 6—ACMA potential investigation and enforcement action

If we decide to investigate a alleged breach of the code and a breach is found, we will determine what, if any, compliance or enforcement action should be taken against the carrier.

In the event that a breach of the code is found, the ACMA has the power to:

    • give a direction to comply with the code going forward (such directions do not apply retrospectively)
    • issue a formal warning

    If a carrier has been given a direction and subsequently breaches that direction (for example, by contravening the code again), the ACMA can issue an infringement notice or commence proceedings in the Federal Court seeking a financial penalty.

    Summary table

     

     

     

    Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site

    (facilities that do not require developmental approval)

     

    Free-standing mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at a new site

    (facilities that require developmental approval)

     

    Mobile phone radiocommunications infrastructure at an existing site

    (for example, a low-impact facility)

     

    Low RF power mobile radiocommunications infrastructure and fixed radio links at a new or existing site

    (for example, a low-impact facility)

    Step 1

    You have lodged a formal complaint (as per Clause 11 of the Code) to the carrier (or its authorised representative) in the first instance, and

    Step 2

    The carrier (or its authorised representative) has investigated and responded to your formal complaint, and

    Step 3

    The final consultation report has been submitted to local council and has been published on the RFNSA website, and

    The development application process has been completed and a final decision has been made, and

    A final decision about the proposed facility has been made by the carrier, and

    The carrier has completed its notification obligations (as per Clause 5 of the Code), and

    Step 4

    You have lodged an complaint to the ACMA using this form.

    Land access complaint

    A landowner or occupier who has a land access complaint should speak to the carrier in the first instance. If the matter cannot be resolved, then the landowner or occupier can request that the carrier refer it to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). Please see the TIO’s guidelines on the Installation and Maintenance of Low-Impact Facilities for further information.

    NBN-related complaints

    NBN-related assessments by the ACMA are limited to EME matters only. All other NBN-related complaints should be directed to NBN Co Limited using its ‘contact us’ form here.

    Contact the ACMA

    For more information, please contact:

    Networks Section and National Interests Section
    Australian Communications and Media Authority
    PO Box 13112 Law Courts
    Melbourne VIC 8010
    Email: info@acma.gov.au
    Phone: 1300 850 115

     

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