Ian CausleyMember for Page- CanberraConnection

An end to nuisance calls

Australians will soon be protected from nuisance telemarketing phone calls thanks to the planned creation of a national, legislated Do Not Call Register.

The register will apply to all telemarketers operating in Australia, as well as overseas telemarketers with a link to Australia. It will also include a range of enforcement options, including fines.

The number of unsolicited calls in Australia has grown significantly in recent years, and has led to rising community concerns about the inconvenience and intrusiveness of telemarketing.

The register, open to individuals and small businesses, will enable people to opt out from receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls. Once a telephone number is registered, it will be prohibited for telemarketers to contact that number.

Legislation will soon be put in place to establish the register and set minimum standards for the behaviour of telemarketers. These standards will include permitted calling hours, minimum information requirements and termination of calls.

In recognition of the need for some organisations with underlying public interest objectives to make unsolicited calls, a limited range of exemptions will be provided (for example, charity groups and people undertaking social research).

Individuals and small businesses will not be required to pay a fee for registering. The Do Not Call Register is expected to commence operating in 2007.

Australian Defence Medal

Many servicemen and women in the Page electorate will benefit from the Australian Governments decision to recognise the service of Defence Force personnel with the Australian Defence Medal (ADM).

The award aims to recognise current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) Regular and Reserve personnel, and volunteer and National Servicemen, who have served since the end of World War II. I estimate that in the Page electorate alone, there would be thousands of serving and ex-serving ADF members who would be eligible for this medal.

Presentation ceremonies by senior military officers and federal parliamentarians are expected to commence in mid-2006 as the medals become available. Further information and a special application form for the ADM is available from RSLs and other ex-service organisations, and from the Defence website at www.defence.gov.au/dpe/dpe_site/honours_awards/.

Childcare places hotline

For the first time, parents will have access to a central telephone hotline to help in the search for a local childcare place.

Until now, the hotline only provided parents with information about the type of services available in their area. But from July, parents telephoning the Child Care Access Hotline will for the first time be able to find the number of vacancies near where they live or work.

Parents will be able to access availability information on all childcare types, including long day care, family day care and outside school hours care. Access to childcare availability data will also enable the government to better understand where the demand for childcare is in Australia.

The number of childcare places has doubled under the Howard Government to 600,000 over the past 10 years. The Child Care Access Hotline number is 1800 670 305.

Office contacts

Phone: 6621 9909

Fax: 6621 9959

Address: PO Box 1119, Lismore, 2480

Email: ian.causley.mp@aph.gov.au

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