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Telecommunications bill 1989



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& C O M M O N W E A L T H

P A R L I A M E N T A R Y L IB R A R Y M 1 C A H

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS BILL 1989

The Teleconununications Bill 1989 was an important element in the Federal Government's program of micro-economic reform, the Minister for Telecommunications and Aviation Support, Ros Kelly said today.

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One of the main elements of' the Bill is the establishment of an independent regulator, AUSTEL, to monitor Australia's telecommunications industry. . ■

Other key elements include :

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* the definition of those telecommunications services which will, for reasons of network development and social objectives, be reserved to Telecom, OTC and AUSSAT;

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* the creation of a streamlined licensing regime for other services which, combined with safeguards against discriminatory behaviour by the carriers, will allow free and fair competition in the provision of value added services and the efficient operation of approved private networks;

* the assurance of fair and open competition in the customer eguipment market; and

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* the provision of mechanisms to ensure that consumer interests are protected and the Government's social objectives are achieved by the telecommunications industry.

"AUSTEL will have a range of functions including a better consumer protection role," Mrs Kelly said.

"It will agt in conjunction with the Trade Practices Commission and the Ombudsman.

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Mrs Kelly said the Government had decided that Telecom would maintain its monopoly of the «basic network to ensure that it had the funding capacity to cross subsidise and fulfil its community service obligations.

"AUSTEL will also have the power to monitor the way Telecom delivers its reserved services and require Telecom to become more customer oriented and efficient.

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She said AUSTEL would administer the Government's formula for the price capping of basic services, which will ensure that the average price of these basic telecommunications services will fall in real terms. '

"The Bill will also enhance Australia's ability to compete effectively in the rapidly growing world telecommunications market.

Mrs Kelly said the Bill incorporated the results of extensive consultations with industry and a wide range of interest groups.

"It will serve the interests of the telecommunications industry, as well as benefitting consumers." -

April 19 1989

Further information : Cathi Collier 777840 Jane Smith 777200 *

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