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Are you ready for the new Financial Hardship Standard?


The new Telecommunications (Financial Hardship) Industry Standard 2024 (Standard) comes into effect from 29 March 2024. Applicable CSPs will face new obligations under the Standard, and must make changes to their current policies, processes and operations to ensure compliance with the new Standard.

While the C628: Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) which currently provides for financial hardship provisions is under review, the ACMA introduced the Standard to enhance protections for customers experiencing financial hardship.

Some of the changes introduced under the Standard include:

  • Expanded definition of ‘financial hardship’;
  • Replacement of the ‘financial hardship policy’ with the ‘payment assistance policy’ with more prescriptive requirements as to the policy content;
  • New obligation to take proactive action to identify financial hardship customers;
  • Changes to the options for assistance that must be offered;
  • Stricter training requirements for personnel that directly interact with customers; and
  • Expansion of record keeping arrangements.

IAA has prepared this guidance material to help Members understand their new obligations under the Standard, in detail. Members are also able to access a free payment assistance policy template via the IAA Member Portal alongside other templates to assist their compliance with the new Standard.

As telecommunications becomes increasingly vital to everyday life, while Australians face increased cost of living pressures, we understand the importance of having robust financial hardship protections for customers. However, Members have shared concerns about the prompt manner in which the Standard was introduced. Indeed, IAA in our submission to the draft Standard, requested a longer grace period before the Standard comes into effect, which was unfortunately not heeded. Read our submission for further concerns about the Standard, and the need for a fit for purpose financial hardship framework that will better serve both consumers and industry.

If you have any questions about the new Standard, please contact us at

Read our guide


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