The Australian Government is reducing the regulatory burden for business and the community.

The aim is to deliver real reform through better regulation, which lowers the cost burden on business, while maintaining necessary consumer and other safeguards.

The Australian Government will work with stakeholders through the complex and long-term deregulation process.

Deregulation roadmap 2014

The Australian Government considered the following areas for deregulation in 2014.

Telecommunications regulation—April 2014

The Australian Government has consulted widely with companies, consumer advocates and regulators in the communication sector on where regulation can be improved. The aim was to reduce regulation while maintaining or strengthening important consumer safeguards. Reforms are now proposed in the following areas:

Final proposals will be developed in time for the next Repeal Day process.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is also consulting on proposals for reducing reporting requirements and streamlining consumer information obligations.

Spectrum Review—May 2014

Australia's spectrum management framework is under review. The review gave some initial options to the Australian Government late in 2014. Legislative change should follow in 2015.

Reform of Digital Television regulations—Schedule 4 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992—June 2014

Australia has achieved a historic switchover from analog to digital-only free-to-air TV transmissions. It is the biggest change in Australian broadcasting since the introduction of colour television almost 40 years ago.

We will review the legislation that made the conversion from analog to digital television possible. This includes important planning provisions to ensure a smooth transition as well as specific obligations on broadcasters in relation to the use of the digital spectrum—including limitations on the types of services, HDTV quotas, ability to use spare spectrum for datacasting services etcetera.

In reviewing Schedule 4, we will provide advice to Government on redundant provisions and whether 'surviving' provisions should be adjusted to achieve ongoing public policy outcomes. This includes considering the ongoing restrictions on broadcasters on the type of service that they can provide.

Final proposals will be developed in time for the second Repeal Day process.

Captioning requirements—June 2014

Commercial and national television broadcasters have raised significant concerns in relation to the costs of reporting obligations introduced into the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to support increased captioning requirements.

The Department of Communications and the ACMA will jointly review and consider modification of the reporting provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and ACMA reporting requirements. Changes are expected to be limited to addressing problematic administrative and reporting issues.

Final proposals will be developed in time for the second Repeal Day process.

The ACMA will also consult on proposals to reduce reporting obligations on commercial radio broadcasters in relation to local content and presence obligations.

Other policy issues

There are other policy areas that need reform, even though they aren't strictly 'deregulatory':

  • Australian and children's television content quotas and subquotas
  • ACMA review of broadcasting compliance and reporting obligations, including in relation to local content standards on regional radio
  • any changes from the Cost-Benefit Analysis and Review of Regulation of the National Broadband Network, which also incorporates the statutory review of the telecommunications industry access arrangements under section 152EOA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010
  • use of the sixth television channel, including the future of community broadcasting
  • any changes to the anti-siphoning rules
  • any changes to current media ownership rules
  • retransmission of commercial and national broadcasting services
  • review of s593 community representation and research grant arrangements in the telecommunications sector.

Regulation Reform Agenda

The Australian Government has announced a strengthened regulation reform agenda that will focus on reforms that increase innovation and productivity. The regulation reform agenda will also continue to reduce unnecessary red tape costs on individuals, businesses and community organisations.

Key elements of the government's agenda include:

  • A commitment to cutting the burden of red and green tape by a net $1 billion a year.
  • The establishment of a regulator performance framework to assess and improve the performance of regulators.

Reform in the communications portfolio

The Communications portfolio is strongly committed to reform as a means of unlocking productivity and competitiveness gains for industry. The Australian Government's regulation reform agenda will provide a platform to modernise regulatory frameworks and ensure consumer safeguards remain relevant and effective in the contemporary environment.

Repeal Day Legislation

Since the announcement of the Australian Government red-tape election commitment in late 2013 the Communications portfolio has introduced, or contributed to, the following pieces of legislation to reduce regulatory burden and compliance costs on industry:

Communications Annual Deregulation Report 2015

The Australian Government's Annual Deregulation report provides a summary of key communications deregulation initiatives progressed in 2015. More information about progress in the Communications portfolio can be found on the Cutting Red Tape website.

Communications Annual Deregulation Report 2014

The 2014 Communications Annual Deregulation report provides a comprehensive overview of all deregulation, and regulatory, initiatives undertaken within the Communications Portfolio from September 2013 to 31 December 2014.

You can access a copy of the report titled Communications Annual Deregulation Report 2014 below.

If you have any questions about regulation reform in the communications portfolio you can contact us at deregulation [at] communications.gov.au.

Communications Annual Deregulation Report 2014
Policy background papers

Regulating harms in the Australian communications sector Policy Background Paper No.2

Published

Download PDF (386.25 KB) Download DOC (2.15 MB)
This paper considers current and possible regulatory frameworks, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of a range of interventions used to regulate the communications sector—it covers black letter law as well as co and self-regulation. It challenges the preference for co-regulation as the preferred regulatory model in the context of evolving technologies, business models and consumer expectations. 

The Australian Postal Market Policy Background Paper No.4

Published

Download PDF (373.23 KB) Download DOC (2.13 MB)
This paper explores changes in the cost of delivering letters and the implications for Australia Post. Costs have increased while the amount of mail has declined due to the growth in email and messaging. The Australian Postal Market (June 2014) Policy Background Paper outlines the challenges for Australia Post.

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