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Thursday, 16 March 2000
Page: 14945

Mr STEPHEN SMITH (10:00 AM) —The opposition supports the passage of the Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Amendment Bill 1999. The bill proposes changes to the Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Act 1997. That act dictates the method by which sets of telephone numbers are allocated to carriage service providers—known as carriers—and how they are charged for that service. The numbers are allocated and administered by the Australian Communications Authority, the ACA, which in turn charges carriers for this service. Numbers are held by both primary and secondary carriers. Secondary carriers are resellers of carriage services and obtain their numbers directly from the primary carrier whose services are being resold.

The act currently determines that, despite the numbers having been originally allocated to the primary carrier, the secondary carrier is still responsible for numbering charges on services that have been transferred to it from the primary carrier. The bill seeks to clarify aspects of that process and simplify the collection of numbering charges. The bill also provides a limited flexibility for the ACA in determining the date on which numbering charges will be imposed. That flexibility is provided to allow the ACA to determine a date in order to address exceptional circumstances which might arise. This is a simple bill which improves the administration of telecommunications and the relationship between carriers in our nation. It is a simple measure but one which will enhance the effectiveness of our telecommunications operations. On that basis, it is supported by the opposition.