ACMA to look at Do Not Call self regulation under government reforms

The Australian Communications and Media Authority could look at handing over the operation of the Do Not Call Register – which bans marketers from phoning homes on the list – to an industry-based self-regulatory body.

The potential for further self-regulation of the advertising and marketing industry has been supported by the government in its response to the review of ACMA handed down this week.

Under the recommendations, ACMA will split the role of CEO and chairperson which has been handled in an acting capacity by Richard Bean for more than a year.

The review made 27 recommendations which would see a number of functions stripped from the media regulator while a number of others would be added.

The changes have been designed to allow ACMA to better respond to the pace of the fast-changing media and telecommunications environment.

ACMA will look at the possibility of handing the DNCR over to a self-regulatory body within the next 12 months, with the government supporting the initiative “in principle”.

“The Do Not Call Scheme involves rules applying to telemarketers to prevent or limit unwanted contact for consumers and a Register which allows Australians to ‘opt-out’ of certain telemarketing calls,” the review said.

“The Register is currently run under contract with the ACMA managing not only the contract, but the cost-recovery fees, website and statistics. The Scheme has been in place since 2007 and is mature with high levels of industry compliance (three formal warnings and one infringement notice were issued in 2014). Complaints are handled by the register operator, with potential breaches passed to the ACMA for investigation. It seems likely that the function of managing the Register could be performed by industry, if a relevant coordinating body exists, with the ACMA retaining its regulatory role in the scheme.”

Other elements which the government will support include the transfer of some operational functions of the Classification Board to ACMA and also complaints about the advertising of interactive gambling services.

“The IGA contains a complaint mechanism for reporting prohibited interactive gambling services to the ACMA but is silent on who should handle complaints relating to the advertising of such services,” the review said

“Consequently, the Department of Communications and the Arts handles these complaints. Both types of complaints are referred to the AFP, which has indicated it would prefer to deal with referrals from one agency.”


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