Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to telecommunications, and for related purposes
Administered by: DCITA
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Registered 17 Mar 2005
Introduced HR 10 Mar 2005
Table of contents.

2004-2005

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Regular Reviews and Other Measures) Bill 2005

 

No.      , 2005

 

(Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to telecommunications, and for related purposes

  

  


Contents

1............ Short title............................................................................................ 1

2............ Commencement.................................................................................. 1

3............ Schedule(s).......................................................................................... 2

Schedule 1—Amendments                                                                                                 3

Part 1—Amendments commencing on Royal Assent                                          3

Telecommunications Act 1997                                                                                  3

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 3

Telstra Corporation Act 1991                                                                                 11

Part 2—Amendments consequential on the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority                                                                                                                              12

Telecommunications Act 1997                                                                                12

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 12

 


A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to telecommunications, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

1  Short title

                   This Act may be cited as the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Regular Reviews and Other Measures) Act 2005.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provision(s)

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 to 3 and anything in this Act not elsewhere covered by this table

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

2.  Schedule 1, Part 1

The day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

3.  Schedule 1, Part 2

Immediately after the commencement of Part 1 of Schedule 1.

However, the provision(s) covered by this table item do not commence at all if this Act receives the Royal Assent before the commencement of Schedule 2 to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2005.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally passed by the Parliament and assented to. It will not be expanded to deal with provisions inserted in this Act after assent.

             (2)  Column 3 of the table contains additional information that is not part of this Act. Information in this column may be added to or edited in any published version of this Act.

3  Schedule(s)

                   Each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.


 

Schedule 1Amendments

Part 1Amendments commencing on Royal Assent

Telecommunications Act 1997

1  After section 65

Insert:

66  Condition requiring Telstra to maintain a local presence in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia

             (1)  This section applies to a condition under section 63 if:

                     (a)  the condition relates to a carrier licence held by Telstra; and

                     (b)  the main object of the condition is to ensure that Telstra maintains a local presence in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

             (2)  The condition may make provision for, or in relation to, a matter by empowering the Minister or the ACA to make decisions of an administrative character.

             (3)  Section 11 does not apply to the reference in paragraph (1)(b) to Australia.

             (4)  In this section:

Australia does not include the eligible Territories.

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999

2  Subsection 5(2)

Insert:

RTIRC means the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee established by section 158R.

3  Subsection 5(2)

Insert:

RTIRC Chair means the Chair of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.

4  Subsection 5(2)

Insert:

RTIRC member means a member of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee, and includes the RTIRC Chair.

5  Subsection 5(2)

Insert:

Telstra subsidiary has the same meaning as in the Telstra Corporation Act 1991.

6  After Part 9A

Insert:

Part 9BIndependent reviews of regional telecommunications

Division 1Independent reviews of regional telecommunications

158P  Reviews of regional telecommunications to be conducted by the RTIRC

             (1)  The RTIRC must conduct reviews of the adequacy of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

Note:          RTIRC means the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee established by section 158R.

             (2)  In determining the adequacy of those services, the RTIRC must have regard to whether people in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia have equitable access to telecommunications services that are:

                     (a)  significant to people in those parts of Australia; and

                     (b)  currently available in one or more urban parts of Australia.

Timing of reviews

             (3)  The first review must be completed within 5 years after the commencement of this section. Subsequent reviews must be completed within 5 years after the completion of the previous review. For this purpose, a review is completed when the report of the review is given to the Minister under section 158Q.

Consultation

             (4)  In conducting a review, the RTIRC must make provision for:

                     (a)  public consultation; and

                     (b)  consultation with people in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

Relevant matters

             (5)  In conducting a review, the RTIRC must have regard to:

                     (a)  any policies of the Commonwealth Government notified to the RTIRC by the Minister; and

                     (b)  such other matters as the RTIRC considers relevant.

Definitions

             (6)  In this section:

Australia has the same meaning as in paragraph 66(1)(b) of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

telecommunications services includes:

                     (a)  carriage services; and

                     (b)  services provided by means of carriage services.

158Q  Report of review

             (1)  The RTIRC must:

                     (a)  prepare a report of a review under section 158P; and

                     (b)  give the report to the Minister.

             (2)  The Minister must cause copies of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after receiving the report.

Recommendations

             (3)  The report may set out recommendations to the Commonwealth Government.

             (4)  In formulating a recommendation that the Commonwealth Government should take particular action, the RTIRC must assess the costs and benefits of that action.

             (5)  Subsection (4) does not prevent the RTIRC from taking other matters into account in formulating a recommendation.

Government response to recommendations

             (6)  If a report sets out one or more recommendations to the Commonwealth Government:

                     (a)  as soon as practicable after receiving the report, the Minister must cause to be prepared a statement setting out the Commonwealth Government’s response to the recommendations; and

                     (b)  within 6 months after receiving the report, the Minister must cause copies of the statement to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.

Division 2Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC)

158R  Establishment of the RTIRC

                   There is to be a Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.

158S  Functions of the RTIRC

                   The RTIRC has the functions that are conferred on it by this Part.

158T  Membership of the RTIRC

             (1)  The RTIRC is to consist of a Chair and at least 2 other members.

             (2)  A person may only be appointed as an RTIRC member if it appears to the Minister that the person has knowledge of, or experience in:

                     (a)  matters affecting regional, rural and remote parts of Australia; or

                     (b)  telecommunications.

             (3)  The Minister must ensure that:

                     (a)  the RTIRC Chair is not a person covered by subsection (4); and

                     (b)  a majority of the other RTIRC members are not persons covered by subsection (4).

             (4)  This subsection applies to the following persons:

                     (a)  an officer or employee of Telstra;

                     (b)  an officer or employee of a Telstra subsidiary;

                     (c)  an employee of the Commonwealth;

                     (d)  an employee of an authority of the Commonwealth;

                     (e)  a person who holds a full-time office under a law of the Commonwealth.

             (5)  In this section:

Australia has the same meaning as in paragraph 66(1)(b) of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

158U  Appointment of RTIRC members

             (1)  The RTIRC members are to be appointed by the Minister by written instrument.

             (2)  An RTIRC member holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 5 years.

             (3)  An RTIRC member holds office on a part-time basis.

158V  Acting appointments—RTIRC Chair

             (1)  The Minister may appoint an RTIRC member to act as the RTIRC Chair:

                     (a)  during a vacancy in the office of the RTIRC Chair, whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office; or

                     (b)  during any period, or during all periods, when the RTIRC Chair is absent from duty or from Australia, or is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

             (2)  Anything done by or in relation to a person purporting to act under an appointment is not invalid merely because:

                     (a)  the occasion for the appointment had not arisen; or

                     (b)  there was a defect or irregularity in connection with the appointment; or

                     (c)  the appointment ceased to have effect; or

                     (d)  the occasion to act had not arisen or had ceased.

158W  Procedures

             (1)  The regulations may prescribe the procedure to be followed at or in relation to meetings of the RTIRC, including matters relating to the following:

                     (a)  the convening of meetings of the RTIRC;

                     (b)  the number of RTIRC members who are to constitute a quorum;

                     (c)  the selection of an RTIRC member to preside at meetings of the RTIRC in the absence of the RTIRC Chair;

                     (d)  the manner in which questions arising at a meeting of the RTIRC are to be decided.

             (2)  A resolution is taken to have been passed at a meeting of the RTIRC if:

                     (a)  without meeting, a majority of RTIRC members indicate agreement with the resolution in accordance with the method determined by the RTIRC under subsection (3); and

                     (b)  all RTIRC members were informed of the proposed resolution, or reasonable efforts had been made to inform all RTIRC members of the proposed resolution.

             (3)  Subsection (2) applies only if the RTIRC:

                     (a)  determines that it applies; and

                     (b)  determines the method by which RTIRC members are to indicate agreement with resolutions.

158X  Disclosure of interests

             (1)  An RTIRC member who has a material personal interest in a matter being considered by the RTIRC must, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the RTIRC.

             (2)  The disclosure is to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and, unless the Minister or the RTIRC otherwise determines, the RTIRC member must not:

                     (a)  be present during any deliberation by the RTIRC about that matter; or

                     (b)  take part in any decision of the RTIRC relating to that matter.

             (3)  For the purposes of the making of a determination by the RTIRC under subsection (2) in relation to an RTIRC member who has made a disclosure under subsection (1), an RTIRC member who has an interest in the matter to which the disclosure relates must not:

                     (a)  be present during any deliberation of the RTIRC for the purposes of making the determination; or

                     (b)  take part in the making by the RTIRC of the determination.

158Y  Remuneration and allowances

             (1)  An RTIRC member is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the member is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed.

             (2)  An RTIRC member is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973.

158Z  Leave of absence

             (1)  The Minister may grant leave of absence to the RTIRC Chair on the terms and conditions that the Minister determines.

             (2)  The RTIRC Chair may grant leave of absence to an RTIRC member on the terms and conditions that the RTIRC Chair determines.

158ZA  Resignation

                   An RTIRC member may resign his or her appointment by giving the Minister a written resignation.

158ZB  Termination of appointment

             (1)  The Minister may terminate the appointment of an RTIRC member for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

             (2)  The Minister may terminate the appointment of an RTIRC member if:

                     (a)  the RTIRC member:

                              (i)  becomes bankrupt; or

                             (ii)  applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

                            (iii)  compounds with creditors; or

                            (iv)  makes an assignment of remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

                     (b)  the RTIRC member is absent, except on leave of absence, for 3 consecutive meetings of the RTIRC; or

                     (c)  the RTIRC member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 158X.

158ZC  Other terms and conditions

                   An RTIRC member holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are determined by the Minister.

158ZD  Assistance to RTIRC

             (1)  Any or all of the following:

                     (a)  the ACA;

                     (b)  the ACCC;

                     (c)  the Department;

may assist the RTIRC in the performance of its functions.

             (2)  The assistance may include the following:

                     (a)  the provision of information;

                     (b)  the provision of advice;

                     (c)  the making available of resources and facilities (including secretariat services and clerical assistance).

             (3)  A reference in Parts 26 and 27 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 to the ACA’s telecommunications functions includes a reference to the function conferred on the ACA by subsection (1).

Telstra Corporation Act 1991

7  Subsection 8BUA(1)

After “regional”, insert “, rural or remote”.


 

Part 2Amendments consequential on the establishment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority

Telecommunications Act 1997

8  Subsection 66(2)

Omit “ACA”, substitute “ACMA”.

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999

9  Paragraph 158ZD(1)(a)

Omit “ACA”, substitute “ACMA”.

10  Subsection 158ZD(3)

Omit “ACA’s”, substitute “ACMA’s”.

11  Subsection 158ZD(3)

Omit “ACA”, substitute “ACMA”.