Minister for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

A/g Minister for Regional Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Modernising Australia’s spectrum framework

18 May 2017

The Turnbull Government today released a consultation package on reforms to modernise and simplify Australia’s spectrum management framework.

The comprehensive consultation package includes an Exposure Draft of the Radiocommunications Bill and related consultation papers including broadcasting spectrum and transitional arrangements. The Government has also released consultation papers on government spectrum holdings and spectrum pricing.

Spectrum is essential to today’s digitally-networked economy and is a major contributor to Australia’s economic and social wellbeing. It is a finite resource that needs to be managed efficiently. The use of spectrum underpins many aspects of our daily lives including the use of phones, television,  radio  and simply checking the weather. These reforms will simplify the regulatory framework and support new and innovative technologies and services.

The proposed reforms follow the recommendations of the Government’s 2015 Spectrum Review to:

  1. replace the current legislative arrangements with new legislation that removes prescriptive process and streamlines licensing for a simpler and more flexible framework;    
  2. better integrate the management of public sector and broadcasting spectrum to improve the consistency and integrity of the framework; and    
  3. review spectrum pricing to ensure consistent and transparent arrangements to support the efficient use of spectrum and secondary markets.    

The consultation package has been developed in consultation with the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) which has prepared supplementary material to assist stakeholders in better understanding the Exposure Draft.

The Department of Communications and the Arts will also be hosting a series of presentations over the coming weeks to introduce stakeholders to the Bill and related material. Consultation will run for 6 weeks until 30 June 2017.

The Government intends to present a further Exposure Draft to stakeholders for comment before finalising the legislation for introduction to Parliament. This subsequent Exposure Draft will be informed by stakeholder feedback from the initial consultation.

The full consultation package is available at: https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/spectrum/spectrum-reform

Feedback on the package can also be sent to spectrumreform@communications.gov.au

Media contact: Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell@communications.gov.au

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