I am delighted to be in Australia and excited to begin this role as Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman after 14 years as New Zealand’s Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner.
As I begin at the TIO I am taking time to become familiar with the organisation and the finer points of Australia’s complex telecommunications industry. Over the next few months I plan to meet with our stakeholders across industry, community and government.
I believe that good working relationships with stakeholders are vital to the success of industry ombudsman schemes. I want to be able to share the story of the TIO and the value it provides to the telecommunications industry. I believe the TIO is cost-effective, but its real value goes beyond cost.
The very existence of TIO as a safety net for consumers enhances their confidence in telco products and services. The TIO provides excellent dispute resolution, and from that, we are able to share data and what we learn from complaints with members, regulators and consumer groups to help the industry and regulation of the industry improve.
I begin my tenure as Ombudsman at a time when complaints are at their lowest for six years. My focus will be on ensuring we provide an effective and efficient service – we are required to do that in a manner that complies with the industry benchmarks of independence, fairness, accountability, accessibility, effectiveness and efficiency.
One of my first tasks as Ombudsman is to work with the Board of TIO Ltd to define a new strategy for the organisation for 2016-19. Other important projects will include developing of a new business plan and budget, moving to new premises, and moving our IT services to the cloud.
In closing, I would like to thank my Deputy, Diane Carmody who, along with the Executive Team, has led the TIO to continue delivering an outstanding dispute resolution service since the departure of former Ombudsman Simon Cohen.