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Consumer protections a priority for the ACMA in 2023–24


Minimising gambling harm, combating SMS scams, tackling online supply of dodgy devices and enforcing spam unsubscribe rules have been identified as some of the key compliance priorities for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in 2023–24.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the ACMA would prioritise addressing scams due to the significant detrimental impact they have on people’s financial and social wellbeing.

“These scams are run by sophisticated international criminal networks. Over the next 12 months the ACMA will work with government and industry to further reduce the risk of harm caused by scams by targeting them at their source, before they hit people’s phones,” she said.

Protecting vulnerable telco customers, including those experiencing financial hardship or domestic or family violence, is also among the compliance priorities set by the ACMA for 2023–24.

“With many Australian families facing cost of living pressures it is particularly important for telcos to do more to support their most vulnerable customers.

“Telecommunications is clearly an essential service, with Australians relying on connectivity to access work, education, health, government services and more. Without reliable phone and internet it is incredibly challenging for people to fully participate in today’s society,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

The full list of 2023–24 ACMA compliance priorities is:

  • Protecting telco customers experiencing financial hardship, in particular monitoring industry direct debit and responsible selling practices.
  • Supporting telco customers experiencing domestic and family violence and taking action against telcos that don’t follow industry rules.
  • Tackling the online supply of dodgy devices with a focus on supplier compliance with equipment rules, and working with online platforms to proactively remove ads for non-compliant devices.
  • Ensuring 5G mmWave EME compliance by extending our measurement program to mmWave technologies and EME in buildings.
  • Maintaining Low Power Open Narrowcasting (LPON) licensing integrity through compliance audits.
  • Minimising gambling harm by taking action against illegal offshore wagering providers targeting Australians, with a particular focus on the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • Enforcing e-marketing unsubscribe rules by focusing on businesses that don’t action opt-out requests, concentrating on areas that may cause significant harm like gambling, alcohol and ‘buy now, pay later’ products and services.
  • Combatting SMS scams to prevent them reaching Australians by enforcing existing rules and exploring new ways to stop scam messages that impersonate legitimate brands.

The ACMA’s compliance priorities were informed by submissions made through a public consultation process. More details on the 2023–24 compliance priorities are available on the ACMA website.  

The ACMA has also released its Outcomes: compliance priorities 202223 report, which sets out the ACMA’s actions and outcomes against its priorities for last year.

“This report shows significant results for our 2022–23 compliance priority activities. For example, our registration and enforcement of telco industry codes has seen more than 360 million scam calls and around 172 million scam messages blocked since July 2022.

“This means that since new rules were introduced in December 2020, more than 1.15 billion scam calls have been blocked from reaching Australians,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

MR 20/2023

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