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Wednesday, 20 August 1980
Page: 558

Mr Innes asked the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, upon notice, on 20 February 1980:

(1)   Is the publication by Telecom Australia of the 1979 Perth telephone directory without information regarding telecommunications tariffs (Senate Hansard, 8 November 1979, page 2046) a retrograde step in these days of increasing consumer information, awareness and protection; if not, why not.

(2)   As a consequence of the absence of tariff information, is it likely that some Perth residents will spend more on telecommunications services than they would like or expect; if not, will he explain why not.

(3)   Has Telecom adopted the new scheme at least partially as a revenue raising project; if not, what was the reason.

(4)   How many complaints regarding the absence of tariff information has Telecom received since the publication of the 1 979 Perth telephone directory.

(5)   Have these complaints altered Telecom's intentions not to list charging information; if not, why not.

(6)   What are the results of Telecom's post-issue survey of the Perth telephone directory.

Mr Staley (CHISHOLM, VICTORIA) (Minister for Post and Telecommunications) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows: (1), (2) and (3) The decision not to include tariff details in the Information Pages of the 1 979 Perth telephone directory was based mainly on the fact that tariff changes can render the information out-of-date for much of the life of the directory. Telecom also considers that direct publicity is a more effective means of publicising tariff information. From the customers viewpoint, the appearance of out-of-date tariff information in directories is more likely to lead to customers unintentionally incurring higher charges than is the absence of charging information. Customers can readily obtain up-to-date call charge information by calling the telephone numbers (free calls) listed on pages 1 and 2 of the Perth directory. (4), (5) and (6) Only a few telephoned complaints have been received concerning the absence of tariff information. It had been intended to carry out a post-issue survey but in view of the very low level of customer complaints and higher priority demands on available funds, a survey has not been undertaken.

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