According to Australasian telecoms trade journal CommsDay, proposals to create a single economic telecoms market between Australia and New Zealand will be considered as part of a number of reforms by the productivity commissions of both countries, with Australian telecoms giant Telstra urging the commissioners to consider a common trans-Tasman telecom regulatory regime. The development was confirmed by Australian Productivity Commission chairman Gary Banks, in his keynote speech to a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Canberra; the proposal will be considered as part of a discussion draft planned for release in mid-September.
In March this year the Productivity Commissions of both nations were tasked with conducting a ‘joint scoping study’ to identify reforms that would further enhance economic integration and improve economic outcomes. Among other things, consultations highlighted telecoms as one of the areas that would be looked at. Telstra is one of the key players spearheading the drive towards a common market, and its submission to the Productivity Commission stated: ‘Recent developments in telecommunications regulatory policy and legislation in Australia and New Zealand mean that there are now far more similarities between the laws governing this sector than differences. Rather than work in isolation, the sector and countries would benefit from a pooling of expertise and know-how with a view to designing an improved and common regulatory framework whilst acknowledging local differences. For telecommunications service providers such as TelstraClear and Telstra, having to deal with similar but distinct regulatory regimes and agencies results in an unnecessary duplication of resources.’