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National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2011

2010-2011

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

As passed by both Houses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2011

 

No.      , 2011

 

 

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act relating to certain companies associated with the national broadband network, and for other purposes

   

   

   



Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                              1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Objects................................................................................................ 3

4............ Simplified outline................................................................................ 4

5............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 6

6............ Crown to be bound........................................................................... 12

7............ Extension to external Territories........................................................ 12

Part 2—Operations of NBN corporations                                                             13

Division 1—Simplified outline                                                                                 13

8............ Simplified outline.............................................................................. 13

Division 2—Rules about operations of NBN corporations                      15

Subdivision A—Supply of eligible services to be on wholesale basis           15

9............ Supply of eligible services to be on wholesale basis......................... 15

10.......... Exemption—transport authorities...................................................... 15

11.......... Exemption—electricity supply bodies............................................... 16

12.......... Exemption—gas supply bodies......................................................... 17

13.......... Exemption—water supply bodies..................................................... 17

14.......... Exemption—sewerage services bodies............................................. 17

15.......... Exemption—storm water drainage services bodies........................... 18

16.......... Exemption—State or Territory road authorities................................. 18

Subdivision B—Supply of other goods and services                                        19

17.......... Content services not to be supplied................................................... 19

18.......... Non-communications services not to be supplied............................. 19

19.......... Non-communications goods not to be supplied................................ 19

Subdivision C—Investment activities                                                                   19

20.......... Restriction of investment activities.................................................... 19

Subdivision D—Transitional                                                                                  20

21.......... Transitional—pre-commencement contractual obligations................ 20

22.......... Transitional—pre-acquisition contractual obligations........................ 21

Division 3—Functional separation of NBN corporations                        22

23.......... Contents of draft or final functional separation undertaking.............. 22

24.......... Functional separation principles........................................................ 22

25.......... Functional separation requirements determination............................. 23

26.......... Draft functional separation undertaking to be given to the Communications Minister and the Finance Minister      23

27.......... Approval of draft functional separation undertaking by the Communications Minister and the Finance Minister    24

28.......... Time limit for making an approval decision...................................... 27

29.......... Effect of approval.............................................................................. 27

30.......... Variation of final functional separation undertaking.......................... 27

31.......... Publication of final functional separation undertaking....................... 30

32.......... Compliance with final functional separation undertaking.................. 30

Division 4—Divestiture of assets by NBN corporations                           31

33.......... Directions about disposal of assets................................................... 31

34.......... Directions about transfer of assets to another NBN corporation....... 32

35.......... Advice from ACCC about disposal or transfer directions................. 33

36.......... Exemption from stamp duty—transfer in compliance with transfer direction           34

Division 5—Carrier licence conditions etc.                                                     35

37.......... Carrier licence condition.................................................................... 35

38.......... Service provider rule......................................................................... 35

39.......... Power to declare carrier licence conditions not limited...................... 35

40.......... Power to determine service provider rules not limited....................... 35

Division 6—Special carrier licence conditions                                               36

41.......... Conditions about supply of carriage services by NBN corporations. 36

42.......... Consultation with ACCC.................................................................. 37

Part 3—Ownership and control of NBN Co                                                        38

Division 1—Simplified outline                                                                                 38

43.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 38

Division 2—Commonwealth ownership and control of NBN Co         39

Subdivision A—Commonwealth ownership provisions                                   39

44.......... Commonwealth ownership provisions.............................................. 39

45.......... Commonwealth to retain ownership of NBN Co.............................. 39

46.......... Compliance by NBN Co................................................................... 39

Subdivision B—Termination of Commonwealth ownership provisions     40

47.......... Object of this Subdivision................................................................. 40

48.......... Declaration by Communications Minister—whether national broadband network should be treated as built and fully operational......................................................................................... 40

49.......... Productivity Commission inquiry..................................................... 42

50.......... Declaration by Finance Minister—whether conditions suitable for an NBN Co sale scheme  45

51.......... Termination of Commonwealth ownership provisions..................... 46

Subdivision C—Sale by the Commonwealth of its shares in NBN Co          47

52.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 47

53.......... When NBN Co sale scheme may be entered into and carried out...... 47

54.......... NBN Co sale scheme........................................................................ 47

55.......... Sale-scheme hybrid securities........................................................... 50

56.......... Exemption from stamp duty—transfer by the Commonwealth of its shares in NBN Co etc.   51

57.......... Authorisation of borrowing—issue of sale-scheme hybrid securities 53

58.......... Appropriation—costs incurred in connection with an NBN Co sale scheme           53

59.......... Assistance given by NBN Co or the Board in connection with an NBN Co sale scheme        54

60.......... Giving of assistance—ancillary provisions....................................... 55

61.......... Reimbursement of expenses incurred in giving assistance................ 56

62.......... Commonwealth to be bound by Chapters 6CA, 6D and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001         57

63.......... Reduction of NBN Co’s share capital............................................... 58

64.......... Alterations of NBN Co’s constitution—notice to debenture holders 59

65.......... Alteration of NBN Co’s constitution—Ministerial instrument.......... 59

66.......... Use by the Commonwealth of information obtained from NBN Co or the Board    60

67.......... Agreements relating to the protection of information obtained from NBN Co or the Board     62

68.......... NBN Co’s obligations to disclose information................................. 62

Division 3—Private ownership and control of NBN Co                           63

69.......... Unacceptable private ownership or control situation......................... 63

70.......... Prohibition of unacceptable private ownership or control situation... 63

71.......... Remedial orders................................................................................ 63

72.......... Record-keeping and giving of information........................................ 64

73.......... Validity of acts done in contravention of this Division..................... 66

74.......... Acquisition of property..................................................................... 66

Division 4—General provisions                                                                             67

75.......... Interest in a share.............................................................................. 67

76.......... Extra-territorial application................................................................ 68

Part 4—NBN Co’s reporting obligations                                                                69

77.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 69

78.......... Application of this Part..................................................................... 69

79.......... Financial statements.......................................................................... 69

80.......... Communications Minister and the Finance Minister to be notified of significant events          70

81.......... Keeping the Communications Minister and the Finance Minister informed             71

82.......... Corporate plan for NBN Co.............................................................. 71

83.......... Consequences of contraventions of this Part..................................... 73

84.......... This Part has effect despite the Corporations Act 2001 etc............... 73

85.......... When this Part ceases to have effect.................................................. 73

Part 5—Anti-avoidance                                                                                                     75

86.......... Anti-avoidance.................................................................................. 75

Part 6—Injunctions                                                                                                              76

87.......... Simplified outline.............................................................................. 76

88.......... Injunctions........................................................................................ 76

89.......... Interim injunctions............................................................................ 76

90.......... Discharge etc. of injunctions............................................................. 77

91.......... Certain limits on granting injunctions not to apply............................ 77

92.......... Other powers of the Federal Court unaffected.................................. 78

Part 7—Miscellaneous                                                                                                        79

93.......... Severability....................................................................................... 79

94.......... Promotion of the long-term interests of end-users of carriage services and of services supplied by means of carriage services............................................................................................. 79

95.......... NBN Co is not a public authority...................................................... 80

96.......... Public Works Committee Act............................................................ 80

97.......... Winding-up of NBN corporation not prevented by this Act............. 80

98.......... Rights of NBN corporation’s shareholders, debenture holders and creditors to be subject to this Act     80

98A....... Exemption from stamp duty—matters related to the creation, development or operation of the national broadband network............................................................................................. 80

99.......... Delegation......................................................................................... 84

100........ Compensation for acquisition of property......................................... 85

100A..... Review of operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 so far as that Act relates to documents of NBN Co 86

101........ Regulations....................................................................................... 86

Schedule 1—NBN corporations                                                                     87

1............ NBN corporations............................................................................. 87

2............ Control of a company........................................................................ 87

3............ Associate........................................................................................... 88

Schedule 2—Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co    89

1............ Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co......... 89

2............ Powers and proceedings of the Parliamentary Joint Committee........ 91

3............ Duties of the Parliamentary Joint Committee.................................... 91

4............ Winding up of the Parliamentary Joint Committee............................ 91

 



A Bill for an Act relating to certain companies associated with the national broadband network, and for other purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:



Schedule 1 NBN corporations

Note:       See section 5.

   

   

1   NBN corporations

             (1)  For the purposes of this Act, each of the following is an NBN corporation :

                     (a)  NBN Co;

                     (b)  NBN Tasmania;

                     (c)  a company over which NBN Co is in a position to exercise control.

             (2)  Subclause (1) has effect subject to subclause (3).

             (3)  For the purposes of this Act, if:

                     (a)  at a particular time (the start time ), NBN Co starts to be in a position to exercise control of a company that is a retail carriage service provider; and

                     (b)  if any other conditions are specified in the regulations—those conditions are satisfied;

the company is taken not to be an NBN corporation during the period:

                     (c)  beginning at the start time; and

                     (d)  ending at whichever is the earlier of the following:

                              (i)  the end of 12 months after the start time;

                             (ii)  when NBN Co ceases to be in a position to exercise control of the company.

Note:          For control of a company, see clause 2.

2   Control of a company

             (1)  For the purposes of this Schedule, the question of whether a person is in a position to exercise control of a company is to be determined under Schedule 1 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 .

             (2)  However, in determining that question:

                     (a)  the definition of associate in subsection 6(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 does not apply; and

                     (b)  the definition of associate in clause 3 of this Schedule applies instead.

3   Associate

             (1)  For the purposes of this Schedule, an associate of NBN Co is:

                     (a)  a partner of NBN Co; or

                     (b)  if NBN Co or another person who is an associate of NBN Co under another paragraph receives benefits or is capable of benefiting under a trust—the trustee of the trust; or

                     (c)  a person (whether a company or not) who:

                              (i)  acts, or is accustomed to act; or

                             (ii)  under a contract or an arrangement or understanding (whether formal or informal) is intended or expected to act;

                            in accordance with the directions, instructions or wishes of, or in concert with:

                            (iii)  NBN Co; or

                            (iv)  NBN Co and another person who is an associate of NBN Co under another paragraph; or

                     (d)  another company if:

                              (i)  the other company is a related body corporate of NBN Co for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 ; or

                             (ii)  NBN Co, or NBN Co and another person who is an associate of NBN Co under another paragraph, is or are in a position to exercise control of the other company.

Note:          For control of a company, see clause 2.

             (2)  However, for the purposes of determining whether a person is in a position to exercise control of a company, persons are not associates of each other if the ACCC is satisfied that:

                     (a)  they do not act together in any relevant dealings relating to the company; and

                     (b)  neither of them is in a position to exert influence over the business dealings of the other in relation to the company.



Schedule 2 Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co

Note:       See sections 5 and 50.

   

   

1   Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co

             (1)  If a report of the Productivity Commission inquiry mentioned in section 49 is tabled in the House of Representatives:

                     (a)  a joint committee of members of the Parliament, to be known as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co, is to be appointed according to the practice of the Parliament with reference to the appointment of members to serve on joint select committees of both Houses of the Parliament; and

                     (b)  the appointment is to occur within 15 sitting days of the House of Representatives after the tabling of the report.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co is appointed under subclause (1); and

                     (b)  before the Parliamentary Joint Committee reports to both Houses of the Parliament as mentioned in paragraph 3(1)(b) of this Schedule, the House of Representatives expires by the passing of time or is dissolved;

then, as soon as practicable after the commencement of the first session of the next Parliament, a joint committee of members of the Parliament, to be known as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co, is to be appointed according to the practice of the Parliament with reference to the appointment of members to serve on joint select committees of both Houses of the Parliament.

             (3)  The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co is to consist of 10 members, as follows:

                     (a)  5 Senators appointed by the Senate;

                     (b)  5 members of the House of Representatives appointed by that House.

             (4)  A member of the Parliament is not eligible for appointment as a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co if he or she is:

                     (a)  a Minister; or

                     (b)  the President of the Senate; or

                     (c)  the Speaker of the House of Representatives; or

                     (d)  the Deputy President and Chair of Committees of the Senate; or

                     (e)  the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

             (5)  A member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co ceases to hold office:

                     (a)  when the Parliamentary Joint Committee ceases to exist (see clause 4); or

                     (b)  when the House of Representatives expires by the passing of time or is dissolved; or

                     (c)  if he or she becomes the holder of an office specified in any of the paragraphs of subclause (4); or

                     (d)  if he or she ceases to be a member of the House of the Parliament by which he or she was appointed; or

                     (e)  if he or she resigns his or her office as provided by subclause (6) or (7).

             (6)  A member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co appointed by the Senate may resign his or her office by writing signed by him or her and delivered to the President of the Senate.

             (7)  A member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co appointed by the House of Representatives may resign his or her office by writing signed by him or her and delivered to the Speaker of that House.

             (8)  Either House of the Parliament may appoint one of its members to fill a vacancy amongst the members of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co appointed by that House.

2   Powers and proceedings of the Parliamentary Joint Committee

                   All matters relating to the powers and proceedings of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co are to be determined by resolution of both Houses of the Parliament.

3   Duties of the Parliamentary Joint Committee

             (1)  The duties of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co are as follows:

                     (a)  to examine the report of the Productivity Commission inquiry mentioned in section 49;

                     (b)  to report to both Houses of the Parliament on that examination within 180 days after the Parliamentary Joint Committee was appointed;

                     (c)  to inquire into any question in connection with its duties which is referred to it by either House of the Parliament, and to report to that House on that question.

             (2)  The Parliamentary Joint Committee’s examination of the report of the Productivity Commission inquiry may deal with any matter appearing in, or arising out of, the report of the Productivity Commission inquiry.

4   Winding up of the Parliamentary Joint Committee

                   The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Ownership of NBN Co ceases to exist immediately after the Parliamentary Joint Committee has reported to both Houses of the Parliament, under paragraph 3(1)(b) of this Schedule, on the Committee’s examination of the report of the Productivity Commission inquiry mentioned in section 49.



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