Feds cough up extra coin for 'do not call' register changes

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Feds cough up extra coin for 'do not call' register changes

Changes give option to tailor marketing call exclusions.

The Government has revealed that proposed amendments to the Do Not Call register will be funded partly by a $1.2 million "reallocation" of resources in the Department of Communications.

It was understood the "reallocation" related to savings gained from the 2009/10 budget.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese told Parliament yesterday that the Government would provide funding "of $4.7 million over four years to make the necessary changes to the scheme".

The proposed changes would allow business, emergency services and fax numbers to be protected from unwanted telemarketing by being listed on the Do Not Call register.

"Of this [$4.7 million] amount, approximately $3.5 million over four years will be recovered from the telemarketing and fax marketing industries through fees paid to access the register to cover its operational costs," Albanese said.

"This is consistent with the government's election commitment that industry will bear the full direct costs of the register.

"The remaining $1.2 million will come from a reallocation of resources within the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio."

Albanese said compliance costs for business-to-business telemarketers and fax marketers who have not previously been required to use the register were "not expected to be large".

"For example, the current cost to check 20,000 numbers against the register is $78 per year," he said.

Albanese also proposed amendments to the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and the Telecommunications Act 1997 to alleviate concerns that allowing business numbers onto the register might "limit competition and stifle innovation.

The proposed were "not intended to impinge on business-to-business communications which are an important part of everyday business activity", he said.

"To address these concerns, the bill contains an additional consent mechanism that allows businesses to list their number on the register and continue to receive telemarketing calls or marketing faxes relating to specific industry classifications," Albanese said.

"As a part of the registration process, new registrants will be provided with the option to nominate to receive calls or faxes relating to a list of industry classifications."

It was anticipated the ‘nomination' option would be available in the second half of next year, both to businesses and also consumers already on the register.

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