Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to amend the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, and for related purposes
Administered by: DCITA
For authoritative information on the progress of bills and on amendments proposed to them, please see the House of Representatives Votes and Proceedings, and the Journals of the Senate as available on the Parliament House website.
Registered 28 Jun 2007
Introduced HR 21 Jun 2007

           

 

2004-2005-2006-2007

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PROTECTING SERVICES FOR RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA INTO THE FUTURE) BILL 2007

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator the Hon. Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)

 

 

 


                                                                                                               

TELECOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PROTECTING SERVICES FOR RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA INTO THE FUTURE) BILL 2007

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Protecting Services for Rural and Regional Australia into the Future) Bill 2007 (the Bill) is to amend the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (the Act) to protect the $2 billion principal of the Communications Fund.

 

Part 9C of the Act establishes the Communications Fund.  The purpose of the Fund is to provide an income stream to fund the Commonwealth Government’s response to any recommendations relating to regional, rural or remote telecommunications made by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee to the Government in a report of the Committee’s review of the adequacy of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

 

The Bill will maintain the Communications Fund’s principal amount of $2 billion so that only funds in excess of $2 billion are available for implementing the Government’s response to recommendations of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee and related purposes specified in section 158ZI of the Act.  This will reflect the Government’s intention that the $2 billion principal of the Communications Fund is maintained as a perpetual fund, with only earnings on investments available for expenditure.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill is not expected to have any financial impact on Commonwealth expenditure or revenue. 

 


NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1 – Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Bill, when enacted, may be cited as the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Protecting Services for Rural and Regional Australia into the Future) Act 2007.

 

Clause 2 – Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that the Bill, when enacted, will commence on the day after it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 – Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule to the Bill is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule and any other item in a Schedule has effect according to its terms.  Schedule 1 to the Bill amends the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

 

Schedule 1 – Amendment

 

Amendment of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999

 

Item 1 – After section 158ZJ – Insertion of new section 158ZJA – Balance of the Fund must not fall below $2 billion

 

Part 9C of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (the Act) establishes the $2 billion Communications Fund.  The purpose of the Communications Fund is to provide an income stream to fund the Commonwealth Government’s response to any recommendations relating to regional, rural or remote telecommunications made by the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee to the Government in a report of a review of the adequacy of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote parts of Australia.

 

Section 158ZJ of the Act provides for the sum of $2 billion in cash to be credited to the Communications Fund Special Account.  This was an initial deposit to the Account, which occurred in September 2005, and the balance of the Communications Fund is likely to exceed $2 billion as a result of future investment growth.

 

It is the Government’s intention that the Communications Fund is to be a perpetual fund with the principal of the Fund maintaining at least its nominal value of $2 billion.

 

Item 1 would insert a new section 158ZJA of the Act to give effect to this intention by making it clear that the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the balance of the Communications Fund Special Account and the value of investments of the Communications Fund do not fall below $2 billion.

 

This will ensure that the only money that is available to be spent for the purposes of the Account as specified in section 158ZI is income or interest on investments of the Fund.