After two years of dragging their feet on fixing the holes in consumer protection, the Turnbull Government has, today, released its Consumer Safeguards Review. It shows the Government has the wrong priorities and continues to play catch-up.
While the Government is focussed on who handles complaints and how they are reported, the real priority is to fix the root causes of problems: second-rate technology, lack of transparency, and the lack of proper service standards for rectifying faults and minimising downtime.
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman received over 158,000 complaints last year, alone. This is four times the level of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Labor calls on the Government to adopt our policy:
1. Stop deploying second-rate technology that produces more faults, more dropouts and more complaints.
2. Support the establishment of Labor’s NBN Service Guarantee to ensure industry have the right incentives to be responsive and fix problems before those problems turn into complaints.
The Government’s track record on the consumer safeguards review is nothing short of a shambles.
It first declared it would undertake a review of consumer safeguards in 2016. The Minister literally did nothing for two years, and then scrambled to re-announce the review on the same day TIO complaints increased by 204 per cent.
Despite having two full years to dwell on the issue, the Turnbull Government has failed to explain how the proposed measures will make a practical difference.
Labor will always welcome genuine initiatives designed to deliver better outcomes for consumers, but we will not play along with half-baked measures designed to shift the optics of problems around, rather than dealing with their root causes.