Australia - Telecommunications sector issues paper released On 24 October 2016, the Department of Communications and the Arts (Department) released an issues paper inviting submissions on the effectiveness of section 593 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Telco Act). Under section 593 of the Telco Act, the Communications Minister may make grants of financial assistance to a body corporate regarding the representation of consumer interests in telecommunications issues, and for research into the social, economic, environmental or technological implications of telecommunication developments. The Department's review will consider whether section 593 should be retained, removed, or amended, and how any further grants should be allocated. The Department is inviting submissions on the following: 1. Consumer representation – whether it is appropriate for the Australian Government to continue to fund a consumer body for purposes of section 593(1), including consideration of the role that the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has played in ensuring that the views of consumers are adequately considered in policy-making, and whether other bodies or other methods could perform that role. 2. Research – whether the Australian Government should continue to fund ACCAN under section 593(2) in connection with research into the social, economic, environmental and technological implications of telecommunications developments. This includes a consideration of the role that ACCAN has played in distributing this funding and whether its research projects achieve their strategic outcomes. 3. Scope of section 593 – whether other activities should be funded under section 593: for example, consumer education or the assessment of retail telecommunications products suitable for low income consumers.The issues paper can be accessed here. Submissions are due by 25 November 2016 and can be made via the online tool or by emailing [email protected] The issues paper can be accessed here. Submissions are due by 25 November 2016 and can be made via the online tool or by emailing [email protected] For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Matthew Dempsey or Grace Loukides.