Do Not Call Register
The Do Not Call Register was set up in response to increasing levels of community concern about the growth in unsolicited telemarketing calls. The Register is intended to regulate and minimise the number of unsolicited calls made to Australian numbers, regardless of whether they originate from overseas or within Australia. Before the recent amendments to the Register, only residential or domestic fixed line and mobile phone numbers were able to be registered.
In the 2009–10 Budget, the Government announced plans to widen the scope of the Register to allow the registration of all telephone and fax numbers, including the numbers used by businesses and emergency service operators. The Government introduced the Do Not Call Register Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 into Parliament on 26 November 2009 to provide for the extension of the register to all telephone and fax numbers.
Following its introduction, the Bill was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts for inquiry. The Committee’s report (tabled on 24 February 2010) supported the Bill. However, concerns were raised by peak business organisations including the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia about the impact of the extension of the Register to business numbers and the cost of compliance.
On 30 April 2010, the Minister announced a number of amendments to the Do Not Call Register Legislation Amendment Bill 2009. The Minister announced that the Bill would proceed without including business numbers until further research and consultation with business stakeholders had occurred. He also indicated that the Government would replace the current three-year registration period with a Ministerial Determination that would initially set the registration period at five years.
Passage of the Do Not Call Register amendments
The Do Not Call Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 was passed by Parliament on 13 May 2010 and the amendments took effect on 30 May 2010.
The changes to the Act that took effect on 30 May 2010 are as follows.
- Provision to extend the eligibility for registration on the Do Not Call Register to include emergency service and government telephone numbers and all Australian fax numbers.
- Prohibition on sending unsolicited marketing faxes to an Australian number which is registered on the Do Not Call Register, subject to certain exemptions.
- Provision that agreements for the sending of unsolicited marketing faxes must require compliance with this Act.
- Provision for civil penalties for breaches of the new provisions.
- Powers are conferred on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make a determination about the circumstances in which consent is inferred for unsolicited marketing faxes to business numbers. This is a reserve power with change to the existing inferred consent provisions under the Act.
- The Minister is enabled to extend, by legislative instrument, the period of time for which numbers may remain on the Register. (This was extended from three years to five years on 30 May 2010).
- The Minister is enabled to reinstate, by legislative instrument, numbers that ceased to be on the Register prior to this Bill because of the three-year registration period that applied originally.
- Consequential amendments to Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 enable the fax marketing industry to develop codes relating to fax marketing activities.
The Do Not Call Register Act Statutory Review
Section 45 of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (the Act) required a review of the Act and relevant provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997 before, or as soon as possible after, May 2010.
The Department released a discussion paper seeking community views on the Do Not Call Register on 6 October 2009. Submissions closed on 4 November 2009. The Department received 77 submissions in response to the discussion paper and conducted a number of meetings with key stakeholders.
The statutory review of the Do Not Call Register is now complete and the report was tabled in Parliament on 29 September. The report is provided below.
- Report on the Do Not Call Register statutory review (PDF, 179KB)
- Report on the Do Not Call Register statutory review (RTF, 654KB)
Background to the Do Not Call Register
The Do Not Call Register was established under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Do Not Call Register (Consequential Amendments) Act 2006. These acts were passed by Parliament in June 2006.
The Do Not Call Register commenced on 31 May 2007. ACMA is responsible for overseeing and enforcing it.
In accordance with the requirements of the Do Not Call Register (Consequential Amendments) Act 2006, ACMA has established the Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2007 (the Industry Standard) to govern telemarketing and research calls. The Industry Standard covers matters such as permitted calling hours, minimum information requirements and termination of calls.
See further information on Do Not Call Register - Information for the Public on the ACMA website.
Do Not Call Register Regulations 2006
The Do Not Call Register Regulations 2006 were made on 13 December 2006. The Regulations specify that certain types of customer service calls are not telemarketing calls and therefore not subject to the requirements of the Act.
Consumer Policy and Privacy Section
Consumer Policy and Post Branch
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Tel: 02 6271 1287