Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to amend the Telecommunications Act 1997, and for related purposes
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 04 Sep 2017
Introduced HR 04 Sep 2017

2016-2017

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Bill 2017

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

the Member for Mayo, Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP


Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Bill 2017

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Bill seeks to requires carriers to provide 24 hour standby power capability for mobile phone towers that they operate in high-risk bushfire communities.

 

High risk bushfire communities are to be determined by the Government agency, Emergency Management Australia, with regard to State and Territory-based mapping of bushfire risk areas.

 

ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) would be responsible for determining the detail of the regulations that enforce these provisions.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

Clause 1 provides for the Bill, once enacted, to be cited as the Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Act 2017.

 

Clause 2: Commencement

Clause 2 provides for the Act to commence the day it receives Royal Assent.

 

Note that under Schedule 1 – Amendments, the determination of industry standards relating to mobile base stations in high risk areas is to be as “soon as practicable” after the commencement of Section 125C of the Act.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

Clause 3 provides that legislation specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule.

 

Schedule 1 – Amendments

Items 1 through 3 apply to the Telecommunications Act 1997

 

Item 1

 

Item 1 ensures that in exercising its powers under new Section 125C, ACMA will act in a manner that enables public interest considerations to be addressed in a way that does not impose undue financial and administrative burdens on participants in the relevant sections of the telecommunications and associated industries.

 

Item 2

 

Item 2 inserts, as an example of a matter that industry codes and standards may deal with, actions that ensure mobile base stations in high bushfire risk communities have at least 24 hours of standby power capability.

 

Item 3

 

Item 3 allows for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to determine, as soon as practicable after the commencement of the Act, and by legislative instrument, a standard that requires telecommunications carriers who own or operate critical mobile base stations (i.e., mobile telephone towers) to maintain at least 24 hours of standby power capability at all times.

ACMA must undertake consultation with relevant and representative telecommunications associations or bodies before determining such standards.

 

A critical mobile base station is a mobile base station (i.e. mobile telephone tower) in a high bushfire risk community, as determined by Emergency Management Australia in the Attorney-General’s Department.

 

In determining whether a community is a high risk bushfire community, Emergency Management Australia must have regard to existing State and Territory planning laws that are relevant to bushfire risk. The practical effect of this provision (subsection 5) is to allow for existing work on bushfire risk mapping and management that has been undertaken by States and Territories to inform the approach of Emergency Management Australia.

 

 

 


STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Telecommunications Amendment (Guaranteeing Mobile Phone Service in Bushfire Zones) Bill 2017

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the bill

 

The Bill seeks to requires carriers to provide 24 hour standby power capability for mobile phone towers that they operate in high-risk bushfire communities.

 

High risk bushfire communities are to be determined by the Government agency, Emergency Management Australia, with regard to State and Territory-based mapping of bushfire risk areas.

 

ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) would be responsible for determining the detail of the regulations that enforce these provisions.

 

Human rights implications

 

This Bill predominantly seeks to enhance the rights to life and security of person, as per Article 3 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Australia is a party to the Declaration.

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues beyond those indicated above.

 

 

 

 

Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP