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ACCC reports support competition regulatory reform.

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Media Release

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts


31 May 2005

ACCC reports support competition regulatory reform

The annual Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Telecommunications competitive safeguard report and the Changes in the prices paid for telecommunications services in Australian 1997-98 to 2003-04 report were tabled in Parliament today.

“The ACCC has found that average prices for telecommunications services further decreased in the 2003-04 monitoring period,” Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said.

“Competition has increased in both the domestic and international long distance markets and prices have dropped accordingly. In the larger business telecommunications market prices dropped by 5.6 per cent in 2004. The overall price of mobile services also fell by 3.2 per cent.

“These reports show that competition has delivered real benefits to all users of telecommunications services.

“These reports also show that the current telecommunications regulatory regime continues to serve us well and delivers competitive results. However the reports do remind Government of the need to ensure the regulatory environment continues to respond to development of the sector.

“The Government is currently examining regulatory options for telecommunications reform. Examining these issues is about ensuring there is effective competition and future investment in telecommunications in Australia over the next five to 10 years.

“The information in the reports tabled today will be carefully considered as part of the Government’s review of competition regulatory arrangements. In this regard, I note the ACCC’s view that

the rate of competition has stabilised and the benefits of access-based competition are beginning to plateau.

“The ACCC has made a number of comments and suggestions about the future operation of the regulatory framework including on the issue of operational separation.

“These reports will be an important contribution to the current examination of the telecommunications regulatory regime.”