Consultation on the remaking of Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations

The Australian Government is seeking comments on the remaking of the Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 1997. The Regulations are due to sunset in April 2019.

Why we want your input

We have provided a draft of the proposed Regulations. This is your chance to raise any queries that come from these changes, and comment on whether the regulations should be remade.

How you can voice your opinion

You can have your say by providing a submission to this public consultation process. Submissions are due by 6 November 2018.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your submissions will be used to inform the Australian Government’s deliberations about whether to remake the Telecommunication (Arbitration) Regulations. These changes will have a long-term effect and will be reviewed no later than 2027, when the regulations will again be subject to sunsetting.

The Issue

The Australian Government is seeking comments on the remaking of the Telecommunication (Arbitration) Regulations 1997. The Regulations are due to sunset in April 2019.

The Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 1997 provide rules and procedures for arbitration of disputes by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (‘ACCC’) about access to certain services under the Telecommunications Act 1997. The powers provide a backstop for industry. The rules and procedures do not apply where the parties agree to appoint an arbitrator other than the ACCC or to resolve their dispute by means other than arbitration. The ACCC is appointed under the Telecommunications Act 1997 as arbitrator of last resort.

The Australian Government proposes to remake the regulations in broadly the same form as they exist currently. New clauses are proposed that will provide greater flexibility for the ACCC to decide arbitrations ‘on the papers’ and also to conduct joint arbitrations where there is more than one party in dispute. The regulations do not currently specifically allow the ACCC to make decisions ‘on the papers’ or for the ACCC to conduct joint arbitrations. It is common, in practice, for the ACCC to conduct arbitrations in this way to ensure that arbitrations are cost effective, and less burdensome for industry. The proposed remade regulations would reflect the current business-as-usual operations of the ACCC in conducting the arbitrations. We welcome your views on whether the regulations achieve the intention of delivering a faster and less costly process.

We have also made some changes to modernise the drafting approach in the regulations and to remove redundant clauses. For example, clauses that establish an offence of strict liability no longer include the defence of reasonable excuse. Instead, defences in Part 2.3 of the Criminal Code will apply.

We seek your feedback on whether the Regulations should be remade, and whether the redraft of the Regulations are helpful in providing further clarity regarding rules and procedures.


Relevant Documentation

Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 2018

Published 24th Oct 2018

Download PDF (358.12 KB) Download DOC (115.67 KB)

Exposure draft of the Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 2018.

Compartive version - Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 2018

Published 26th Oct 2018

Download PDF (995.91 KB) Download DOC (268.28 KB)

This is a marked up version of the Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 2018 and may not meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirements. Please contact us at to obtain an alternative copy.


We received 2 submissions from stakeholders. No submissions opposed remaking the Regulations.

After considering the feedback, the Minister for Communications and the Arts decided the Regulations should be remade in the proposed form. The Minister considered that remaking the Regulations would ensure appropriate stability and clarity for the telecommunications industry regarding relevant arbitrations.

The Regulations are now available on the Federal Register of Legislation, referred to as the Telecommunications (Arbitration) Regulations 2018. The Explanatory Statement for the new Regulations is also available on the Federal Register of Legislation.


24 Oct 2018 09:00 AEDT
06 Nov 2018 17:00 AEDT
This consultation is closed.