The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is seeking stakeholder consultation as it develops and works to implement a new communications equipment rules framework. This comes in response to an exposure draft of the Radiocommunications Bill 2017. ACMA has put forward the call for submissions from consumers and the industry in its recently released consultation paper, which proposes a more flexible approach to communications equipment laws.

In particular, ACMA is considering whether there is scope for the communications equipment rules to allow an overseas manufacturer to authorise an Australian agent to take on compliance obligations on behalf of multiple importers. Under the previous regime, the Australian distributor of communications equipment - which was usually subject to exclusive arrangements - was deemed to be the appropriate person required to hold necessary compliance documentation. As such, this regime was premised on a linear model of equipment manufacture and supply. However there is a growing concern that this fails to recognise the increasing complexity seen in modern supply chains, which may use direct importation or global online marketplaces.

ACMA is therefore looking to allow a person to be the agent for multiple importers of equipment. ACMA would have more flexibility in determining the most appropriate person in the supply chain to be tasked with device compliance and record-keeping obligations. The obligations could be placed on persons other than 'importers' or 'manufacturers' - for example, they could be imposed on the person who arranges the importation of a product from a supplier to the end-user in Australia.

Submissions can be made until 29 March 2018.

The ACMA media release and details on how to make a submission can be found here.