Australia and New Zealand agreed to boost ongoing joint efforts to tackle the growing global threat of spam and SMS scams through more strategic cooperation and information sharing.

In a statement, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) noted it signed an agreement with New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs to “further promote strategic engagement, facilitate information sharing”, and enhance compliance and enforcement.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the two countries have been long-term partners in the battle against unwanted spam and scams, noting research conducted in 2021 showed 98 per cent of Australian adults received unsolicited communications on their phones.

Secretary for Internal Affairs Paul James stated the agreement raises their already close cooperation on spam to a new level.

He explained enabling the agencies to share intelligence, techniques and tools for combatting spam, as well as sharing information on phishing and malware, demonstrates the close working relationship between the two regulators.

James added “working collaboratively with other international jurisdictions” is a key way to tackle this issue, as phishing campaigns and malware delivered through spam continue to be an increasing challenge globally.

The agreement follows ACMA entering similar arrangements with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the US’ Federal Communications Commission.