A man and power lines are reflected in a Telstra poster adorning a public telephone in Sydney, Australia, August 13, 2015. Australian telecoms giant Telstra Corp Ltd on Thursday posted a 1 percent slide in full-year net profit, in line with expectations, and forecast modest earnings growth in the current year. Net profit came in at A$4.23 billion ($3.12 billion) for the year to June 30, from A$4.28 billion the previous year. Reuters/David Gray

As Australia's data retention laws came into effect on Tuesday, Telstra announced that it has been given another 18 months by the Attorney-General’s Department to comply with the new legislation.

Australia's telecommunication companies and carriage service providers are required to follow the much debated regulations, which will see them retain their customers' data. According to the new law, these companies must retain the non-content data of their customers for two years or risk penalties.

Telstra Chairman Catherine Livingstone said at the company’s annual general meeting that Telstra is in the process of implementing the new regulations.

"We are pleased to say that Telstra is one of the few, if not only, I think, telecommunication providers that has submitted a data retention plan and had it approved by the government," she said. "We are organised to do this and we will implement it over 18 months, and of course, we will work with the government following through on their undertaking to reimburse us for the costs incurred. We're very conscious of regulatory costs incurred, and will absolutely recover them as we can."

According to a survey released by the Communications Alliance on Monday, most of its surveyed members had not complied with the deadline.

The survey revealed that only a mere 16 percent of companies are fully confident of the law and said they would comply with it without even having to submit an implementation plan for approval. On the other hand, 81 percent of surveyed companies said that they have submitted implementation plans, but only 10 percent of those have been approved.

"It is no surprise that many service providers won't be compliant when the legislation comes into force -- many of them because they are still waiting to hear from government as to whether their implementation plans have been approved," said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

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