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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been told to investigate claims that it was improperly applying a traffic caution to a number of tickets that contained a reference to the ABC’s News Tonight program.
The ABC has admitted it was not in fact applying a “traffic caution” to the offending tickets but it is being investigated for “intentional omissions”.
The ABC says the tickets were issued under a “special caution” which allows a “significant number” of tickets to be taken off the roads if they contain a reference.
A spokesman for the ABC says it “never gives a ‘traffic warning’ when it does not apply a traffic control signal”.
However, in a letter to the commission sent on Friday, the ABC said the “trajectory of the warning was unclear”.
“The ABC does not believe the ‘trajectories of the warnings’ is indicative of a genuine traffic warning,” the letter says.
It added that “the ‘traverse’ that was provided by the ABC was an apparent ‘trail’ rather than a direction to proceed, which would be a significant omission.”
The ABC received a total of 11 tickets for “traverse” from July this year through to November.
The first of these tickets was issued on July 17, when the ABC received an alert from the ABC Transport Safety Bureau that a “small number” were potentially unsafe for public transport.
The alert said a traffic light on a road leading to the Melbourne CBD had been placed in a “controlled position”.
It warned drivers of the “dangerous conditions” around the junction and warned of the possibility of a “flashover”.
The following day, the alert was changed to a “critical condition” and the ABC contacted the ABC Traffic Safety Bureau to verify the warning had been changed.
The letter sent to the ACCC by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission says that “it is important that you ensure that the correct notice is provided to customers when issuing a traffic alert” and says that if the ABC does find that it has not been correctly provided to consumers, it “should ensure that appropriate action is taken”.
The letter continues: “There are a number potential errors in the way the ABC communicated the alert, which may result in the alert not being issued to consumers.”
The ACCC said it had received complaints from motorists that the ABC had “misrepresented” the “scope and frequency” of the alerts and “failed to comply with the ABC Code of Conduct”.
It said it was also investigating “any allegations of a breach of the Code of Practice” and “any actions taken by the broadcaster to correct the situation”.
In its response to the letter, the ACCc said the ABC has “an obligation to correct any misleading or inaccurate statements that are made by the organisation”.
The ACCc says it is investigating whether there was “misleading” or “inaccurate” information in a number “of traffic alerts issued to passengers and crew during the period July 17-November 23”.
A spokeswoman for the ACCCt said the agency “was unaware of any complaints about the ABC”.
However she said it “regrets the inaccuracy of the ABC Alerts” which are “based on information provided by law enforcement agencies, the police and the media”.
The spokeswoman said the ACCct was “working with the Department of Transport, the Department for Transport and the ACC to investigate whether the ABC misled consumers about the number of alerts issued by it.”
The spokeswoman added that the ACCs investigation into the ABCs Alerts had “received support from the Australian Federal Police”.
The spokesman said the investigations “will continue”.
The issue of “traversing” has been a major issue in the media recently, with the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group’s (ANZ) CEO claiming in February that he had been warned that the bank was in breach of its banking code of conduct.
On Friday, ANZ chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie said the bank had a “very clear” code of practice, and that he believed it was the “best way to do business”.
“We are confident in our system,” he said.
“It is a good model of financial services.”
In a statement on Thursday, ANL said it did not “imply that any specific warning is given in relation to the use of a GPS, which is in line with our practice”.
It added: “We have no plans to change our practice of issuing alerts, which are based on information from law enforcement.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has also been called into question.
On Thursday, the regulator released a statement which said it believed “that there was a genuine issue with the way ANZ was reporting alerts”.
It also said that the regulator had been informed of “several serious complaints” about “the way alerts were issued”.
The regulator said it would be “taking the matter into account” and had “been in contact with ANZ”.
A spokesperson for the regulator said