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Telecommunications Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998

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1998

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 1998

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator the Hon. Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts)

 

 



 

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 1998

 

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Telecommunications Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1998 makes one amendment to the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act).  The amendment to paragraph 55(1)(a) of Schedule 3 to the Act will replace the sunset date of 1 January 1999 with a sunset date of 1 January 2001 to ensure that the Commonwealth’s environmental interests continue to be protected after 1 January 1999.

 

The 1 January 1999 timeframe was specified in the Act because it was expected that similar arrangements would be put in place by that date under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill.  Delays in finalising that Bill mean that without this proposed amendment, from 1 January 1999 the telecommunications carriers would no longer be under an obligation to satisfy the Environment Secretary  about activities they propose to undertake which have an environmental significance for the Commonwealth.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

It is expected that the proposed amendment will not have a significant financial impact on Commonwealth expenditure of revenue.

 



 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the Telecommunications Amendment Act (No. 2) 1998 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for the commencement of the Act on the day it receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule

 

Schedule 3 provides that the Act specified in the Schedule is amended as set out in the items in the Schedule.

 

Schedule 1 - Continuation of environmental assessment and protection regime

 

Amendment to the Telecommunications Act 1997

 

Item 1 - Paragraph 55(1)(a) of Schedule 3

 

Item 1 amends paragraph 55(1)(a) of Schedule 3 to omit the reference to ‘1999’ and substitute ‘2001’.  The effect of the amendment is that the requirement for carriers, proposing to carry out the installation of a facility, to provide a notice of their intention to the Environment Secretary if any of the conditions in subclause 55(2) exist, is continued beyond 1 January 1999 until 1 January 2001.

 

Clause 55, until 1 January 1999, imposes special requirements on carriers installing facilities where the installation is not authorised under clauses 6(1)(a), (b), (c) or (d) and there are special Commonwealth environmental or heritage concerns.  (Clause 6 provides for the installation of a facility (a) if the carrier is authorised to do so by a facility installation permit; (b) where the facility is a ‘low impact facility’; (c) where the facility is a temporary defence facility; or (d) the activity is carried out before 1 July 2000 for the sole purpose of connecting a subscriber to a line forming part of a telecommunications network existing at the commencement of the Act and the connection does not cross over or under a street or a road.)

 

In addition to whatever approvals the carrier must obtain from the owner of the land and the relevant State, Territory or local government authority, the carrier must notify the Environment Secretary of the proposed installation where it gives rise to any of the environment or heritage concerns specified in clause 55(2).  The notice will provide such information as is specified in the regulations.  It must be given at least 25 business days before the installation is proposed to be commenced.

 

Where the Environment Secretary makes a recommendation to the ACA, the ACA, after consulting with the Director of National Parks and Wildlife or the Australian Heritage Commission where appropriate, may give the carrier a written direction relating to the installation.  The direction must be given within 25 business days after the notice was given by the carrier.  The carrier must comply with such a direction.  A decision of the ACA to give a direction, to vary a direction and to refuse to revoke a direction are specified at paragraph 1(z) of Schedule 4 for the purposes of section 555 of the Act.  This means that Part 29 of the Act applies so as to give the permit holder the right to apply to the ACA for reconsideration of that decision.  If the ACA, after reconsidering its decision, affirms the decision or fails to make a decision within 90 days of receiving an application for reconsideration, the permit holder may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for review of the decision.

 

The amendment will continue to extend the requirements of clause 55 to carriers proposing to install facilities after 1 January 1999 until 1 January 2001.