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Successful Telstra-service provider meeting.

"Senior executives of Telstra and of SPAN, the service providers' industry association, have agreed on a range of actions to work towards improved billing, customer transfer, service provider accreditation and other processes in the telecommunications industry, following a meeting convened by the Government on Monday of this week," the Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, said today.

Last year, the Minister commissioned a consultancy to investigate current billing and operational practices in the service provider industry and to provide the Government with a report on these issues. Monday's meeting was a full day session to work through the recommendations in the report.

The meeting agreed to establish a number of industry working groups to tackle a number of key issues. Where appropriate, these groups will operate under the auspices of the Australian Communications Industry Forum to develop models and codes of practice which can be employed across the industry.

"This is an excellent example of industry self regulation, as provided for under the Telecommunications Act 1997. It will allow practical, on the ground solutions to the industry's problems to be identified and implemented," Senator Alston said.

"The Government is particularly pleased about the agreement between Telstra and SPAN to co-operatively find ways to improve processes for transfer of customers and customer billing data. Providing for the smooth transfer of customer accounts between carriers and service providers is a key area for delivering real benefits to end users, many of whom experience frustration under the current arrangements.

"The Government congratulates both Telstra and SPAN for their constructive and co- operative approach to the consultants' investigations, and Monday's meeting, and for the resolve they have shown to work towards better processes in the telecommunications industry."

Media contacts:

Terry O'Connor, Minister's Office, 02 6277 7480; 0419 636 879