New telco rules to support customers in financial hardship in force from tomorrow

The Albanese Government is making it mandatory for telcos to better support customers struggling to pay their phone and internet bills, with new industry rules coming into effect from Friday.

The new Financial Hardship Standard – developed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) at the Government’s direction – means telcos must take all reasonable steps to proactively identify customers who may be experiencing financial hardship, ensure they provide appropriate support, and prioritise keeping customers connected.

The Standard replaces the rules on financial hardship contained in the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, and provides the ACMA with strong enforcement powers to ensure telcos are following through on their obligations.

Practical improvements include:

  • Requirements to determine whether a customer is experiencing financial hardship, and if so, prioritising keeping them connected;
  • Greater promotion of information to consumers on financial hardship assistance;
  • Telcos being required to offer customers at least six different options for assistance, including payment plans

The safeguards cover goods and services provided by telcos, including mobile phones, mobile services, as well as internet and voice services used by individuals and small businesses.

With remaining connected crucial to the lives of many people, the changes will ensure Australians - include those most vulnerable – have stronger supports in place.

The Government first announced its intention to introduce the new rules last year, and acknowledges the constructive engagement of industry throughout this process.

For more information about the new rules, visit

Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“Staying connected is an essential part of everyday life in 2024. That’s why the Albanese Government is backing consumers who might be struggling to pay their internet or phone bills.

“These new rules will mean telcos have to do all they can to keep customers connected if they are experiencing financial hardship, with disconnection the last resort.

“These are practical and common-sense solutions, and is just one of the ways the Albanese Government is supporting families with cost-of-living pressures.

“The Government acknowledges the work of the regulator in developing these new rules, and the constructive engagement of the telco industry through this process”.