Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Standards/Other as made
This instrument determines standards to be observed by commercial television broadcasting licensees. The standards relate to the Australian content of programs.
Administered by: Communications and the Arts
Registered 29 Nov 2005
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR01-Dec-2005
Tabled Senate01-Dec-2005
Date of repeal 31 Mar 2016
Repealed by Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2016

LEGISLATIVE INSTRUMENTS ACT 2003

Section 26 - Explanatory Statement

Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2005 determined under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992

On 24 November 2005, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) determined the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 2005 (the Standard) under section 122(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act).

The Standard includes a clause revoking the Broadcasting Services (Australian Content) Standard 1999 (the Australian Content Standard 1999) made by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (the ABA) on 26 February 1999. 

From 1 July 2005, ACMA commenced to perform the powers and functions previously performed by the ABA under the Act.  Item 8 of Schedule 4 to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Act 2005 provides an instrument made by the ABA (such as the Australian Content Standard 1999) continues to have effect as if a reference in the instrument to the ABA were a reference to ACMA. 

Program Standards for Australian content

Subsections 122(1) and (2) of the Act provide that ACMA must make standards to apply to commercial television broadcasting licensees for Australian content of programs and for programs for children.  Subsection 122(5) provides that ACMA must ensure that a standard is in force for Australian content of programs that has the same effect as section 9 of the Australian Content Standard 1999 (as it was in force at 4 August 2004). 

Intended impact and effect

ACMA does not intend the impact and effect of the Standard to be different in any substantial way from the impact and effect of the Australian Content Standard 1999.  In particular, section 9 of the Standard is in the same terms as section 9 of the Australian Content Standard 1999. 

The Standard has minor, technical differences from the Australian Content Standard 1999.  In particular, the Standard:

·        refers to ACMA, where appropriate, rather than the ABA; and

·        refers to new standards that relate to programs for children called the Children’s Television Standards 2005 (the CTS 2005).

The Standard is the same in all other respects to the Australian Content Standard 1999.

ACMA determined the CTS 2005 on the same day as it determined the Standard. Both standards have the same commencing day.

Consultation

On 14 October 2005, ACMA published a proposal to determine a new standard for programs for children and to make consequential amendments to the Australian Content Standard 1999 (the proposals).  ACMA invited comment on those proposals from interested persons.

On 19 October 2005, ACMA published an advertisement in the Australian newspaper advising of the proposals.  The advertisement invited comment on the proposals from interested persons and advised that further detail was available on ACMA’s website.

Earlier, on 13 October 2005, ACMA advised commercial television networks and other interested stakeholders of the proposals and invited comment from them.

ACMA did not receive any comments on the proposal to vary the Australian Content Standard 1999.

After commencing consultation, ACMA found that it may have some difficulty complying with the requirements imposed under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 for lodgment of the Australian Content Standard 1999 for registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.  Those requirements are imposed under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.  In this instance, failure to comply with those obligations would mean that the Australian Content Standard would cease to have effect on 30 December 2005. 

On 11 November 2005, ACMA announced on its website that it proposed to make a new standard for Australian content of programs incorporating the consequential amendments referred to above.  On 17 November 2005, ACMA advised commercial television licensees and other interested stakeholders of that proposal.  ACMA asked those persons to advise it by 23 November 2005 if they wished to make any submissions on the proposal.  ACMA did not receive any such advice. 

ACMA did not undertake any additional consultation because the decision to make a new instrument, incorporating the proposed consequential amendments, is of a mechanical nature.  It did not change the earlier advised proposal to make consequential amendments to the Australian Content Standard 1999 in a way that could affect the right and obligations of interested persons.

ACMA did not receive any comments on the proposal to determine a new standard, rather than to make consequential amendments to the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Description of the provisions of the Standard

Part 1 of the Standard is introductory.  It includes sections

·        naming the Standard

·        providing that it commences on 30 December 2005; and

·        revoking the Australian Content Standard 1999;

The part also contains sections setting out the object of the Standard and explaining what the Standard does.  Those clauses are in the same terms as those in the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Parts 2, 3 and 4 provide definitions of terms used in the Standard.  These parts are in the same terms as Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Australian Content Standard 1999, except

·        the definition of “CTS” in section 6 refers to the CTS 2005, rather than the standards for children’s television in force before the commencement of the CTS 2005; and

·        the second note to section 6 refers to ACMA, rather than the ABA.

Part 5 contains section 9 which imposes the “Australian transmission quota” to be met by commercial television broadcasting licensees.  As noted above, this clause is in the same terms as section 9 of the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Part 6 imposes obligations for the broadcast of Australian drama programs by commercial television broadcasting licensees.  It requires commercial television broadcasting licensees to reach specified “drama scores” over particular periods of time.  Section 11 sets out a formula to calculate a drama score.  The part is in the same terms as Part 6 of the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Parts 7 and 8 impose obligations for the broadcast of Australian children’s programs.  The parts are in the same terms as Parts 7 and 8 of the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Part 9 imposes requirements for the broadcast of Australian documentaries and is in the same terms as Part 9 of the Australian Content Standard 1999.

The factors in the formula in section 11 for the calculation of drama scores depend on whether a licensee pays more or less than an amount specified in that section for the licence to broadcast a particular Australian drama program.  Part 10 provides for the specified amounts to be increased in accordance with CPI.  The part is in the same terms as Part 10 of the Australian Content Standard 1999.

Part 11 provides for the broadcast of New Zealand programs or Australian/New Zealand programs to be recognised as satisfying obligations imposed by the Standard.  The part is included to satisfy Australia’s obligations under the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement.  Those obligations are outlined in a note to Part 11.   

Part 11 is in the same terms as Part 11 of the Australian Content Standard 1999 except for references in paragraph 2 of the note to Part 11.  That paragraph refers to ACMA and to a section of the Australian Communication and Media Authority Act 2005, rather than referring to the ABA and a provision in the Act that was omitted with effect from 1 July 2005.

Part 12 obliges commercial television broadcasting licensees to report on compliance with the obligations arising under the Standard.  The part is in the same terms as Part 12 of the Australian Content Standard 1999, except that it makes reference to ACMA, rather than the ABA.