What is the process for hearing disputes?

Lodging disputes

The process for hearing disputes will depend on whether the referring party has elected to refer the dispute to the ITA Adjudicator or the ACCC as Adjudicator:

  • For disputes referred to the ACCC, the process determined by the ACCC will apply;
  • For disputes referred to the ITA Adjudicator, the process is summarised below ('The ITA Process' download).

A flow diagram which provides a high level overview of the process for hearing disputes is also included below ('Process Overview' download).

Can the dispute be withdrawn?

Yes, but only by the Wholesale Customer.  Notice of withdrawal must be given to the Adjudicator and each other party to the dispute. 

Where the Wholesale Customer withdraws, the dispute will be closed and the Wholesale Customer must pay the Adjudicator’s costs.

What are the costs and fees for hearing disputes?

Parties must meet their own costs (including associated and incidental costs) of the ITA Dispute and their participation in the ITA Process.

Responsibility for payment of the Adjudicator’s costs (including any costs incurred in engaging an independent auditor or engineer that is appointed to assist the Adjudicator) will be determined by the Adjudicator, however, as noted above the Wholesale Customer will be responsible for the Adjudicator’s costs if it elects to withdraw. If a Wholesale Customer’s dispute is upheld, the Adjudicator can order Telstra to repay the Referral Fee.

An “ITA Process Fee” of $8,000 must be paid to the Adjudicator before utilising the ITA Process in the financial year to which that fee relates. This fee covers certain administrative and incidental costs of operating the ITA Process.
If the ITA Adjudicator handles a dispute, the “ITA Referral Fee” is also $8,000.

In the case of the ACCC, it is open for the ACCC to specify fees that are payable by the parties in respect of the ACCC’s performance of its functions as Adjudicator.

What powers does the Adjudicator have?

Generally, the Adjudicator has three categories of powers:

  • Investigatory powers – including the power torequire the parties to provide:
    • relevant documents and information about systems and processes; and
    • reasonable access to relevant employees and contractors and to exchange buildings and collocation facilities;
  • Mediation powers – the power to mediate an agreed outcome between the parties to the relevant dispute; and
  • Direction powers – in the event a mediated outcome cannot be reached, the power to make any direction in a final determination that the Adjudicator considers necessary or expedient in order to achieve a permanent resolution to the dispute (including to direct a party to modify systems or processesin certain circumstances).