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Monday, 18 March 2013
Page: 2439


Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth) (21:37): by leave—I move amendments (1) and (2) as circulated in my name together.

(1) Clause 2, page 1 (lines 8 to 9) omit the clause, substitute:

2 Commencement

   (1) This Act, other than items 1 to 24 of Schedule 1, commences on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.

   (2) Items 1 to 24 of Schedule 1, commence on 1 October 2013.

(2) Schedule 1, page 5, at the end of the Schedule, add:

25 ACMA review and report

      The Minister must direct the ACMA to review and report on the provision of spectrum for low interference potential device class licences and provide a transition pathway for such licences by 30 July 2013.

I can confirm what the minister has just said—that we have had some very useful discussions concerning these appropriate amendments to this bill, which will have the support of the government. The purpose of the amendments are simply to ensure that the ACMA reviews and reports on the provision of spectrum for low-interference potential device class licences and to provide a transition pathway for such licences by 30 July this year.

This is an issue that was first raised by the member for Dunkley, and I thank him for his initiative in doing so. There are, as I said earlier today, somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 radio microphones. These are low-interference wireless devices which are currently using white spaces in the broadcasting bands—126 megahertz of which is about to be to be vacated as part of the digital dividend. These devices have not yet found a new home and, in that lack, there is the potential for great loss and inconvenience to those persons using those devices. Of course, the ACMA and the department have been rightly criticised for failing to provide a clear pathway, a transition pathway, for those devices and their owners. So I welcome the agreement of the government to support these amendments, which simply require the minister to direct the ACMA to, as I said earlier, review and report on the provision of spectrum for these licences and provide a transmission pathway for them by 30 July 2013. It is somewhat late, but it is better late than never. I commend the amendments to the House.