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Regulation reform agenda continues to benefit the communications sector

The Government today introduced the Communications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation and Other Measures) Bill 2015 and Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) Amendment Bill 2015 furthering its commitment to boost productivity and reduce compliance costs on industry and consumers.

The Bills introduce deregulation measures at a time when digital disruption is transforming Australia's broadcasting and communications landscape.

New and converging technologies are rendering traditional regulation inefficient or even redundant. These bills address outdated regulatory requirements while preserving flexibility for the regulators to adapt to changing industry trends.

The bills include measures to:

  • streamline account-keeping and licence fee administration arrangements for commercial broadcasters and datacasting transmitter licensees;
  • remove duplication for licensees, publishers and controllers who must notify the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) of changes in control of regulated media assets;
  • implement a single classification scheme for all television programs, including films; and
  • establish a framework to enable the telecommunications industry to develop an appropriate scheme to self-manage telephone numbering.

More broadly, this year has seen significant progress in the implementation of the Government's regulatory reform agenda in the communications sector.

The Government has introduced more than 20 new regulatory reform measures resulting in estimated annual savings of more than $250 million for businesses in the communications sector.

Other key measures implemented in 2015 include:

  • reforms to support the rollout of high-speed broadband using multiple technologies, providing greater flexibility for carriers to deploy telecommunications infrastructure, enabling cheaper construction and reduced delay costs for the national broadband network rollout;
  • significant measures to modernise Australia Post, allowing it to operate with greater efficiency and flexibility in the face of a rapid decline in letter volumes and revenue; and
  • the removal of retail price controls in telecommunications.

During 2014 and 2015 the Government has introduced more than 65 communications sector measures aimed at simplifying regulation and has removed more than 3,400 pages of unnecessary regulation. This has delivered an estimated cumulative annual savings of $340 million for businesses and consumers in the communications sector.

Longer term regulatory changes are also underway, including improvements to Australia's spectrum management framework and a review of the ACMA, to ensure the regulator remains fit-for-purpose in a rapidly changing environment.

The Government remains committed to regulatory reform, to ensure that regulation remains fit for purpose and supports productivity and growth for the Australian economy.

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.Sywak [at] communications.gov.au