Government to cut red tape in communications sector

The Government is proposing to reduce the frequency of reporting arrangements for broadcasters, although the hoped for regulatory reforms being discussed by SCA and others are not on the current agenda.

In a release today, the Communications Minister said:


The measures will generate cumulative savings of over $70 million for consumers and businesses, and result in over 3,400 pages of redundant or obsolete regulation being repealed.

Telecommunications and broadcasting are two of the most heavily regulated parts of the Australian economy.

One of the key reforms affecting consumers is the move to a one-time sign-up system for the Do Not Call Register. The Register covers more than nine million telephone numbers, and approximately one million numbers are added yearly.

Another reform reducing red tape for consumers is a relaxation of the National Broadband Network’s regulations regarding battery backup. NBN Co will no longer require consumers to have a battery backup unit installed in their house whether they want it or not. Moving to an optional approach will enhance customer choice and reduce the cost of the NBN.

Spring Repeal Day is the latest step in the Government’s plan to boost economic growth and productivity by removing $1 billion in unnecessary regulatory costs from the economy each year.

Key measures in the three bills for the Communications portfolio to be introduced to Parliament include:

  • Repealing regulation that currently requires subscription broadcasters to independently audit their expenditure on Australian and New Zealand
    drama. This will remove a significant cost and administrative burden for that sector without affecting the amount of local content broadcast.

  • Removing the current captioning compliance reporting obligation on free-to-air television broadcasters.
  • Extending the registration period for the Do Not Call Register so consumers only need to register a phone number once.
  • Reducing the frequency of certain reporting arrangements for businesses in the communications sector, minimising overlaps in reporting requirements, and simplifying record-keeping and compliance.

  • Deregistering outdated Codes of Practice, such as the eMarketing Code and the SPAM Code.

Regulator ACMA has also announced measures in support of the Government’s deregulation agenda, which will also focus on removing unnecessary reporting obligations and outdated Codes of Practice, including repeal of the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency Act 2012 and the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 2012.


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