The Australian Government is committed to delivering spectrum reform to provide tangible improvements in spectrum management and a more efficient regulatory framework.
In October 2019, the Government outlined a staged approach to amend the existing Radiocommunications Act 1992. The Government will progress targeted amendments to the legislation that are designed to achieve benefits for industry and spectrum users.
The amendments will be designed to add flexibility to the legislative framework, clarify institutional roles, remove unnecessary legislative barriers and improve processes, and introduce graduated enforcement mechanisms, to ensure the spectrum management framework remains fit for purpose in a rapidly changing environment.
Spectrum licence terms will be extended to a maximum of 20 years, with clearer licence renewal processes. The arrangements for apparatus licences are also being aligned with spectrum licences to the extent possible.
A bill has been prepared and is now open for public consultation. Submissions received through the consultation process will be used to further refine the proposed amendments. Once finalised, the Bill is expected to be introduced into Parliament as soon as possible.
We are continuing to work with the Australian Communications and Media Authority to improve spectrum management.
In 2015, the Government announced it would implement the recommendations of the Spectrum Review, including to:
- Replace the current legislative arrangements with new legislation that removes prescriptive processes and streamlines licensing for a simpler and more flexible framework
- Better integrate the management of public sector and broadcasting spectrum to improve the consistency and integrity of the framework
- Review spectrum pricing to ensure consistent and transparent arrangements to support the efficient use of spectrum and secondary markets
In May 2017, the Government released a consultation package on these recommendations which included an Exposure Draft of a new Radiocommunications Bill and consultation papers on the proposed approach to broadcasting and transitional arrangements. Feedback received on that bill has helped shape the approach to the amendments that are currently being progressed.
Spectrum Pricing and Commonwealth Holdings review
The changes were informed by industry consultation and will promote increased transparency and pricing efficiencies, allowing spectrum to move to its highest value use.
The Commonwealth-held spectrum review recommended establishing an advisory committee of Commonwealth agencies to develop a whole-of-government approach to Commonwealth-held spectrum.
The Government Spectrum Steering Committee has been formed and the first biennial report on Government Spectrum Holdings was released in April 2019.