The Do Not Call Register Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 has been introduced into Parliament.
If the Bill is passed, the Do Not Call Register will be expanded to enable all Australian telephone and fax numbers to be registered by all persons, including individuals, businesses, government and organisations.
The main elements contained in the Bill are:
- a provision that makes all Australian telephone and fax numbers eligible to register on the Do Not Call Register;
- a prohibition on sending unsolicited marketing faxes to an Australian number which is registered on the Do Not Call Register, subject to certain exemptions;
- a requirement that agreements for the sending of unsolicited marketing faxes must require compliance with the Act. This requirement is aimed at organisations which may contract with another party to provide fax marketing services on their behalf;
- civil penalty provisions for breaches of the new provisions;
- the introduction of ‘registered consent’ which will give all new registrants the option of consenting to receive telemarketing calls or marketing faxes relating to particular industry classifications at the time of listing their number on the Register. The default position will continue to be that registrants are opting out of all telemarketing calls and marketing faxes, unless they take positive action to opt-in to receive certain types of telemarketing calls and marketing faxes. Registrants will be able to change their options at any time if they later choose to opt-out of these calls/faxes;
- conferring powers on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make a determination setting out the industry classifications for the purposes of enabling registrants to choose the telemarketing calls and marketing faxes they wish to receive (if any);
- conferring powers on the ACMA to make a determination or determinations about the circumstances in which consent will be inferred for unsolicited telemarketing calls and marketing faxes to business numbers. This is a reserve power and there will be no change to the existing inferred consent provisions under the Act; and
- consequential amendment to Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1997, to allow the fax marketing industry to make industry codes, and the ACMA to make industry standards for the ‘fax marketing industry’, consistent with the existing arrangements which allow codes and standards to be made for the telemarketing industry. The ACMA will have the power to make an industry standard relating to the fax marketing industry.
It is anticipated that these arrangements will be in operation during the second half of 2010.