07 Feb 2011

Federal Government's 2011 legislative plans for telecommunications

by Kate Jordan, John Fairbairn, Jim FitzSimons, Toby Ryston-Pratt, Bruce Lloyd, Mary Still

The Prime Minister has released the list of legislation proposed for introduction in the Autumn sittings of Federal Parliament, starting Tuesday 8 February. Relevant Bills in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors are:

Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Dividend and Other Measures) Bill *

This is part of the Federal Government's plans to realise the digital dividend. It will:

  • facilitate planning and implementing a more spectrum efficient reorganisation of terrestrial digital television services in order to achieve the digital dividend resulting from the switchoff of analog television services
  • introduce minor amendments to the regulatory framework for digital television, including to improve the operation of the digital television services provided by the satellite service licensed under section 38C of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992

Broadcasting Services Amendment (Anti-siphoning) Bill *

As we discussed last year, the Government is reforming the anti-siphoning scheme. This Bill will bring about those reforms.

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill *

This Bill will provide for the installation of fibre infrastructure in new real estate developments.

Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill

This Bill will update the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 in accordance with agreed model amendments to the uniform State and Territory electronic transactions legislation. It will enable accession to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005 by clarifying traditional rules on contract formation to address the needs of electronic commerce.

Telecommunications (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill

This Bill will implement the recommendations of a review of the submarine cable protection regime undertaken by the Australian Communications and Media Authority by, among other thing, amending the Telecommunications Act 1997 to better align Schedule 3A of the Act, which deals with the protection of submarine cables, and the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.