Labor welcomes the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) changes to its functions in response to the recent report of Parliament’s NBN Oversight Committee – the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network.

The reforms, while modest, are welcome. The TIO will now have the ability to demand information from the NBN where that information is relevant to the resolution of consumer disputes. It will also have the authority to require the NBN to participate in the dispute resolution process where it is deemed necessary to do so.

Labor Members of the Committee have welcomed these changes but will seek more information from the Ombudsman on other issues raised in its inquiry, including that the TIO keep data according to technology type, and should record and report multiple issues as separate items, and that the NBN be required to pay for the dispute resolution costs where it is at fault (currently the costs are borne by the Retail Service Provider).

The Committee has heard evidence that the telecommunications industry receives four times the number of complaints that the Banking and Finance Industry currently receives and that there is significant dissatisfaction amongst consumers.

Consumers deserve a better experience and business as usual is not sustainable.