Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2010
Consideration in Detail
I will be brief too in offering my support to the amendments. It is on the grounds of a long-term view of where telecommunications is heading and of a view that industry sectors are morphing to an increasing degree and therefore the rules of engagement from regulatory bodies should reflect as much as possible that morphing as soon as possible. Procedural fairness and merits review apply in other sectors in regard to the role that the ACCC plays and I certainly can see where the government is coming from in the short term in regard to a special set of regulatory rules for a monopoly provider and concerns around the monopoly provider. However, in the long term I think we will see the morphing of sectors and increased competition in the marketplace, which would suggest that regulatory bodies should apply an equal set of standards to all.
It was only two weeks ago that I took the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government to the offices of Country Energy in Port Macquarie where there was a lively, healthy and positive discussion about the role of the broadband rollout in the mid-North Coast of New South Wales. They also discussed how an electricity retailer is having almost daily conversations with NBN Co. about how those two industry sectors will provide the rollout in a region such as my electorate. Likewise the role that smart-gridding is going to play in the sector in the future is another example of where we cannot assume any longer that poles and wires may indicate an electricity provider, separate from the poles and wires of a traditional telco and separate again, potentially, of an internet provider. We are seeing a morphing of sectors and public policy and regulatory bodies need to reflect that. A fair and equitable standard on some of those regulatory rules around procedural fairness and merits review should also be reflected in policy moving forward. I will be supporting these amendments and I congratulate the member for Wentworth for winning that support.