On 22 October 2014, three Bills proposing deregulation amendments to the telecommunications sector were introduced into the House of Representatives.
The Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2014) Bill 2014 repeals several of the ACMA's obligations to undertake consultation with specified parties before taking action. The consultation provisions are considered unnecessary in light of section 17 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (Cth), which requires a rule-maker, subject to limited exceptions, to be satisfied that appropriate and reasonably practicable consultation has been undertaken prior to making a legislative instrument.
The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Bill 2014 addresses a range of matters including:
- transferring the functions of the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency to the Department of Communications;
- amends section 17 of the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (Cth) making the registration period for numbers on the Do Not Call Register an indefinite period;
- repeals provisions in Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) in respect of the making of e-marketing industry codes;
- repeals some of Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) to remove some record-keeping and reporting obligations imposed on telecommunications providers in relation to authorised disclosures of information or documents;
- amends provisions to relax pre-selection obligations on telecommunications providers;
- modernising publishing requirements in the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999, including to streamline notice requirements to improve the operation of the Customer Service Guarantee .
The Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Amendment Bill 2014 amends the Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Act 2012 to provide that the imposition of the industry levy will continue to operate under the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 following the repeal of theTelecommunications Universal Service Management Agency Act 2012.