Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill 1999

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

1999

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (RECEIVER LICENCE TAX)

AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (TRANSMITTER LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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



 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (RECEIVER LICENCE TAX)

AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (TRANSMITTER LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

OUTLINE

 

The Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 (the Bill) contains various minor amendments to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 which have been requested by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA), in consultation with the telecommunications industry and consumers.  Consequential amendments are also made to other Commonwealth Acts.

 

The amendments proposed have resulted from representations made by individuals and companies in the telecommunications industry, generally over a considerable period of time.  The amendments are as follows.

 

Space objects:  The Act allows the ACA to regulate communications only with satellites which are designated as Australian satellites .  The modern telecommunications space industry will utilise a range of space objects.  Companies which intend to invest in the launch and operation of space objects need to be assured that radiocommunications signals to and from their space objects are not interfered with.  The proposed amendments in this Bill in relation to space objects will allow the ACA to regulate communications with space objects.

 

Reflectors:   The Bill amends the Act so that reflectors may be regulated by the ACA as radiocommunications transmitters or radiocommunications receivers.  This is to ensure that the Act can regulate interference that may occur at reflectors which may be used in order to aid transmitters and receivers to reach a larger area.

 

Issue of radiocommunications licences in the broadcasting bands:   This Bill amends section 31 of the Act so that the ACA and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) may make an agreement allowing the ACA to issue radiocommunications licences in the broadcasting services bands.  The Bill also provides for the ABA to revoke an agreement if, after consultation with both the ACA and affected licensees, the ABA considers that the agreement is inconsistent with its planning functions under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

 

Imposing limits on the amount of radiofrequency spectrum that may be acquired by a specified person:  Subsection 60(5) of the Act allows the ACA to limit the amount of spectrum specified persons may acquire.  The word “limit” is not generally understood to encompass zero.  In this context, a limit of zero in relation to a specified person would amount to a ban on that person acquiring any spectrum.  This proposed amendment will allow the Minister the flexibility of directing the ACA to limit to zero the amount of spectrum that a specified person may acquire and thus better aid the introduction of new players to the telecommunications industry, and consequently enable greater competition.

 

Taxing Spectrum Licences:   There is no existing measure to ensure that Australia is able to assert a taxing right over income from the use of spectrum licences in cases where such licences are held by non-residents.  This could result in the loss of considerable tax revenue.  The Bill amends the Act to require the ACA to include a condition in spectrum licences which ensures that Australian tax applies to income, profits or gains which are attributable to a spectrum licence.

 

Frequency assignment certificates and interference:   Subsection 100(4A) of the Act currently requires the ACA, when deciding on whether or not to issue apparatus licenses, to have regard to frequency assignment certificates issued by accredited persons.  Frequency assignment certificates state that the apparatus in question will not cause “unacceptable” interference.  This is an unrealistic requirement.  The Bill will replace the term “unacceptable” with a statement to the effect that the correct frequency coordination procedures, as determined by the ACA under section 266A of the Act, have been followed.

 

Delegation of the power to issue certificates of proficiency:   The Bill amends the Act so that the ACA may delegate to a body or organisation who the ACA determines may conduct approved examinations, the power to issue certificates of proficiency to persons who have become qualified operators of transmitters under section 121 of the Act.

 

Licence renewal:   Currently under the Act a licensee may renew a licence up to six months before the licence expires.   Failure to renew by the expiration of the licence means that the licensee must apply for a new licence.   However, between the expiration of the licence and the issue of a new licence, licensees generally continue to operate but pay nothing to the ACA during this period.  The Bill will ensure that if a licence is renewed, it will commence from the time of expiry, ensuring that licences are not used without appropriate charges being paid.

 

Determination of conditions that apply in relation to the issuing of a certificate:   Subsection 266A(1) of the Act provides that the ACA may determine conditions that apply to the issuing of frequency assignment certificates under the Act.  It is doubtful, however, that this gives the ACA the power to make conditions in relation to matters existing or arising before or after the time of accreditation.  A proposed amendment is intended to ensure that the ACA may make conditions relating to matters existing or arising at, before or after the time of accreditation.  This will allow a condition to be made that accredited persons maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable period after they issue frequency assignment certificates.

 

Inspection of records:   The ACA enforces compliance with standards by auditing the compliance documentation assembled by manufacturers or importers.   Paragraph 279(1)(e) of the Act, however, only requires that “quality assurance program records” need to be produced for inspection by the ACA.  A proposed amendment will require that all relevant documents be produced for inspection by the ACA.

 

Charging by bodies performing functions under the Act:   The Bill amends the Act so that the ACA may determine that bodies conducting approved examinations, issuing certificates of proficiency, and performing accreditation and approving functions under the Act may charge for the services they provide to users of radiocommunications services.

 

Penalties in lieu of prosecution:   The Bill will simplify and reduce the penalties payable in lieu of prosecution for offences committed under the Act and allow a penalty in lieu of prosecution to be imposed on a manufacturer or importer who fails to meet requirements including retaining appropriate records concerning a device covered by mandatory ACA standards.  The current penalties in lieu in section 315 of the Act are excessive, and the method of calculation unnecessarily complex.  Simplifying and reducing penalties is likely to lead to them being more readily applied and the industry being better regulated.

 

Licence taxes:   Currently the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983 , the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 (the Taxes Acts) provide that licence tax instalments are due on the anniversary of the date of issue of a licence, not the anniversary of the date the licence commenced.  It is inappropriate that a tax on a licence used for a particular period not relate to the particular period concerned.  The proposed amendments to the Taxes Acts will correct this deficiency.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

Simplifying and reducing penalties which are payable in lieu of prosecution for offences committed under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 are likely to lead to them being more readily applied and the industry being better regulated.

 

Ensuring that licences are renewed from the time of expiry will ensure that licences are not used without appropriate charges being paid.   This will result in an increase in revenue.

 

There is currently no measure to ensure that Australia is able to assert a taxing right over income from the use of spectrum licences in cases where licences are held by non-residents.  No-one is as yet taking advantage of this loop-hole in Australian law and so the financial impact of this amendment is that future tax revenue will not be lost to the Commonwealth.



REGULATION IMPACT STATEMENT

 

Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999

 

This Regulation Impact Statement examines a number of unrelated provisions in the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999.  Some of these amendments lead to enforcement provisions which have resulted in the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Amendment Bill and the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Bill.  These amendment Bills are proceeding as one package.

 

1          Problem or issue identification

 

The following provisions of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act) contain deficiencies in their application.

 

Subsection 60(5) of the Act:  This provision allows the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) to impose “limits” on the amount of radiofrequency spectrum that may be used by any one specified person.  The word limit is not usually understood to encompass the concept of nothing, and, since the word limit is not defined in the Act, the courts would give the word its usual meaning.  Thus, where spectrum bands are auctioned as one lot, as they sometimes must be for technical reasons, the ACA cannot impose “limits” on what any person may purchase, because the only alternative to purchasing a single spectrum lot is to purchase nothing, ie, the alternative is effectively to be barred from the auction.  The Minister in such cases is unable to aid the introduction of greater competition into the telecommunications industry by directing the ACA to ensure that spectrum bands are sold to would-be entrants to the industry.

 

Subsection 100(2) of the Act:   This provision prevents the ACA from issuing licences in spectrum bands reserved for broadcasting except in accordance with declarations made by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).  This is unnecessarily cumbersome.

 

Subsection 100(4A) of the Act:   This provision allows the ACA, in deciding whether or not to issue apparatus licences, to have regard to frequency assignment certificates issued by accredited persons, generally private individuals in the telecommunications industry.  These frequency assignment certificates state that the apparatus in question will not cause “unacceptable” interference.  The telecommunications industry currently is being constrained as people hesitate to issue frequency assignment certificates because the vagaries of the term “unacceptable” may leave them legally liable.

 

Subsection 266A(1) of the Act:   This provision provides that the ACA may determine conditions that apply to the issuing of a frequency assignment certificate under the Act.  It is doubtful that this gives the ACA the power to ensure that accredited persons maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable period after they issue frequency assignment certificates.  Professional indemnity insurance is desirable to protect accredited persons from claims for damages and to compensate claimants for any negligence on the part of accredited persons.

 

Section 315 of the Act:   This section currently sets out penalties which are payable in lieu of prosecution for offences committed under the Act.  One example of these penalties is that which is imposed for allegedly failing to apply a label to a licensed apparatus, as required under subsection 300(4).  An alleged breach of subsection 300(4) makes a person liable for a fine equal to the lesser amount of either (a) one-fifth of the maximum fine a court could impose or (b) twice the amount of tax payable in respect of holding the relevant apparatus licence for twelve months.  Such a penalty is clearly excessively complex and, since the alleged offence is a failure to attach a label, may well be considered draconian.

 

Satellites:   The Act applies to satellites which, under section 5 of the Act, are declared to be Australian satellites.  The Act does not apply to other types of space objects (including launch vehicles).  There is a need to amend the Act to allow the ACA to regulate communications to and from these space objects so that they do not interfere with other radiocommunications within Australia. 

 

Licence Renewal:   Under current legislative arrangements a licensee may renew a licence up to six months before the licence expires.  Failure to renew by the deadline means that the licensee must apply for a new licence.  Between the expiration of their old licences and issuing of their new licences licensees generally continue to operate, but pay nothing to the ACA for operating during this inter-licence period.

 

Licence Taxes:   Currently the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983 , the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 (the Taxes Acts) provide that licence tax instalments are due on the anniversary of the date of issue of a licence, not the date the licence commenced.  It is inappropriate that a tax on a licence used for a particular period not relate to the particular period concerned.  There is also no flexibility regarding the timing of instalments at the moment.  For example, the holder of a licence which ran for thirteen months would have to pay an instalment on the twelve month anniversary of the licence and then another instalment, to cover the remaining one month.  This is administratively inefficient.  A single instalment covering the whole thirteen months would be more appropriate.

 

Broadcasting Band Agreements:   In the event that ACA and Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) are unable to concur in revoking an agreement regarding the operation of communications services, licensed by the ACA, in the broadcasting bands, an impasse results.

 

Section 23 of the Act:   This section states that the Act does not apply to foreign satellites, vessels or aircraft.  Section 195 of the Act, however, purports to regulate transmissions from foreign vessels and aircraft, while Part 5.5 of the Act sets out enforcement provisions regarding the regulation of such transmissions.  This is a problem that arose from the way the Act was originally drafted.

 

Reflectors:   Some devices used in telecommunications are neither transmitters nor receivers but reflectors.  The Act only covers transmitters and receivers.  If a radiocommunications company uses a reflector, in order to aid its transmitters and receivers to reach a larger area, the company cannot seek the protection of the Act in relation to radiocommunications interference that may occur at any reflectors it uses. 

 

Section 187A of the Act:   This section allows the ACA to prosecute a manufacturer or importer for failing to retain appropriate records concerning a device covered by mandatory ACA standards.  If the ACA wishes to pursue those who have failed to keep appropriate records it must go to the expense of prosecuting offenders because that is the only penalty allowed by the legislation.  This is an expensive, time-consuming and draconian option.

 

Standards:   The ACA enforces compliance with standards by auditing the compliance documentation assembled by manufacturers or importers.   Paragraph 279(1)(e) of the Act, however, requires that only “quality assurance program records” need to be produced.  Other records relating to product production etc, do not have to be produced.

 

Accreditation Bodies:   Under the Act the ACA may create accreditation bodies, but the Act does not allow these bodies to charge for performing their functions.  The policy aim regarding accreditation bodies is that private individuals or companies would form such bodies, under the auspices of the ACA, and provide services to the radiocommunications industry.  Current charging arrangements make accreditation bodies economically unviable.

 

Qualified Persons:   Certain types of radiocommunications devices may be lawfully operated only by “qualified” persons.  The ACA has the power, under section 263 of the Act, to devolve the examination and assessment process persons must undergo in order to become “qualified”.  The ACA does not, however, have the power to devolve the issuing of certificates of proficiency to persons who have become “qualified”.  Thus the ACA will retain a considerable administrative burden for no apparent reason.

 

Taxing Spectrum Licences:   There is no existing measure to ensure that Australia is able to assert a taxing right over income from the use of spectrum licences in cases where such licences are held by non-residents.  This could result in the loss of considerable tax revenue.

 

 

2          Specification of the desired objectives

 

Subsection 60(5) of the Act:   The objective is to ensure subsection 60(5) is not restricted in its operation, in terms of the imposition of limits on the purchase of spectrum, to facilitate the entry of new players into the telecommunications industry to consequently bring greater competition into the industry.

 

Subsection 100(2) of the Act:   The objective is to reduce unnecessary administrative burdens on the ACA and obstacles in the way of using vacant spectrum bands reserved for broadcasting.

 

Subsection 100(4A) of the Act:   The objective is to introduce a more effective framework for issuing of apparatus licences by the ACA.  The term “unacceptable” interference currently in subsection 100(4A) of the Act is unworkable.  The proposed amendment would replace this broad statement with a statement to the effect that the correct frequency coordination procedures (as determined by the ACA under section 266A of the Act) have been followed.  This will allow accredited persons to be more confident of not facing legal action as a consequence of their issuing of certificates.

 

Subsection 266A(1) of the Act:   The objective is to ensure that accredited persons maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable period after they issue frequency assignment certificates.  Professional indemnity insurance protects accredited persons against suits regarding the negligent issuing of certificates, and also allows plaintiffs to obtain appropriate compensation.

 

Section 315 of the Act:   The objective is to simplify and reduce existing penalties payable in lieu of prosecution.

 

Satellites:   The commercial interest, particularly from overseas, in space objects (including launch vehicles for satellites) is increasing.  Companies which intend to invest in the launch and operation of space objects need to be assured that radiocommunications signals to and from their space objects are not interfered with.  The proposed amendment will allow the ACA to regulate communications with space objects and so ensure, for example, that vehicles are not sent off course with potentially disastrous consequences. 

 

Licence Renewal:   The objective is to ensure that licences are not used without appropriate changes being paid.

 

Licence Taxes:   The objective is to have licence taxes relate to the licence period, ie, the period between commencement and expiry and allow the timing of instalments to be varied to suit individual circumstances.

 

Broadcasting Band Agreements:   The objective is to provide a mechanism for cancelling agreements for communications services to operate in broadcasting bands that will give certainty to the marketplace by providing specific criteria under which an agreement may be revoked. 

 

Section 23 of the Act:   The objective is to remove a contradiction in the Act so that there is no doubt that the ACA may regulate transmissions from foreign vessels and aircraft.

 

Reflectors:   The objective is to amend the Act to cover reflectors.  This is to ensure that a person who utilises a reflector may seek the protection of the Act in the event of there being radiocommunications interference at the reflector.

 

Section 187A of the Act:   The aim of this amendment is to provide the ACA with an alternative to prosecuting manufacturers or importers who fail to retain appropriate records.  The amendment would allow fines to be imposed in lieu of prosecution.

 

ACA Standards:   The objective of this amendment is to provide the ACA with access to all relevant documentation so that the ACA may, as required, ensure that communications products comply with their relevant.

 

Accreditation Bodies:   The objective of this amendment is to allow accreditation bodies, created by the ACA under the Act, to charge for their services.

 

Qualified Persons:  The objective of the amendment is to allow the ACA to devolve the issuing of certificates, a purely administrative function, and thus significantly reduce the administrative burden on the ACA.

 

Taxing Spectrum Licences:   The objective is to amend the Act to enable the ACA to impose a condition on holding a spectrum licence that would make income derived by using the licence subject to Australian taxation laws.

 

 

3          Identification of options (regulatory and non-regulatory)

 

Subsection 60(5) of the Act:   The use of the word “limits” in subsection 60(5) of the Act, means that the ACA may limit, but not bar, a person from acquiring and using spectrum.  This is an unintended consequence of using the word “limits” in the original Act and amending the Act to allow the Minister to direct the ACA to impose a bar on any person, an incumbent or non-incumbent, is the only appropriate course of action.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Subsection 100(2) of the Act:   This subsection currently prevents the ACA from simply seeking the agreement of the ABA to issue licences in spectrum bands reserved for broadcasting.  The only alternative to amending this provision is to retain the current state of affairs under which the ACA may only act following a declaration made by the ABA.

 

Subsection 100(4A) of the Act:   Subsection 100(4A) uses the phrase “unacceptable” interference.  The only way to avoid the constraints this imposes is to amend the relevant subsection to replace “unacceptable” with a more workable term.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Subsection 266A(1) of the Act:   This subsection currently does not give the ACA the power to ensure that persons who issue frequency assignment certificates maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable period after they issue frequency assignment certificates.  Legally, indemnity insurance relates only to the time a claim is made, not to the time a certificate is issued.  The only way to guarantee that there is indemnity insurance available at the time a claim is made is to amend the Act.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Section 315 of the Act:   The current system of penalties payable in lieu of prosecution is set out under section 315 of the Act and so amending the Act is the only way to alter these penalties.  Alternatively the current penalties, which are complex and excessive, could be retained.

 

Satellites:   The Act as it currently stands does not give the ACA the authority to regulate communications with space objects that are not Australian satellites for the purposes of the Act.  This power can only be given to the ACA by amending the Act.  The alternative is to retain the current situation under which it is not possible to regulate to control radiocommunications interference from space objects.

 

Licence Renewal:   The Taxes Acts currently do not allow charges to be levied on operators who are operating in an inter-licence period.  Only amending the Taxes Acts can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Licence Taxes:   The Taxes Acts specify that licence tax instalments are due on the anniversary of the date of issue of a licence, not the date the licence commenced.  Also, the Taxes Acts do not give the ACA the flexibility to vary the timing of tax instalments to suit individual needs.  The only way to change this is to vary the relevant provisions of the Taxes Acts.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Broadcasting Band Agreements:   Currently there is no certainty as to how the cancellation of a communications service in a broadcasting band would proceed.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Section 23 of the Act:   The Act currently contains a contradiction relating to how whether or not transmitter on foreign vessels/aircraft are covered by the Act.  Only amending the Act can remove this anomaly from the Act.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Reflectors:   Persons who use reflectors are not protected by the Act.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Section 187A of the Act:   The Act currently allows the ACA only to prosecute manufacturers or importers who fail to retain appropriate records.  A fine would be more appropriate but only amending the Act can bring this about.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

ACA Standards:   Under the Act the ACA cannot require that all documents relating to whether a particular product meets its relevant product standard should be produced.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Accreditation Bodies:   The Act currently prevents accreditation bodies from charging for their services.  This makes them unviable economic propositions.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Qualified Persons:   The Act requires the ACA to issue certificates to a qualified person even where it has not been involved in the person’s examination process.  This is an administrative burden which serves no purpose.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

Taxing Spectrum Licences:   Currently the Act provides a loophole for persons to avoid tax on income raised by using a spectrum licence.  Only amending the Act can change this situation.  The alternative is to retain the current situation.

 

 

4          Assessment of impacts (costs and benefits) of each option

 

The impact groups for this proposed spectrum re-allocation include:

 

·       consumers of communications services,

·       incumbents and potential industry entrants that use the spectrum,

·       the ACA; and

·       taxpayers.

 

Subsection 60(5) of the Act:   Barring certain persons from acquiring and using specified spectrum will aid the introduction of new players to the telecommunications industry, and consequently give impetus to greater competition which will benefit the consumers of communications services.  Incumbent players in the telecommunications marketplace, who may well be those who are barred to prevent them from acquiring monopoly power, would regard themselves as disadvantaged.  However, greater benefits for Australian consumers would flow from increased competition than from monopolistic practices.  These benefits to consumers may include increased variety, or quality, of services and reduced costs.  The likely benefit to the consumers and the public would outweigh the costs of the restriction.

 

However, retaining the current situation would allow incumbents to use their market power to prevent the entry of new players into the telecommunications marketplace and so deny the benefits of competition to Australian consumers.  Consumers in a monopoly market often face higher costs and less innovative services than could be expected in a competitive market.

 

Subsection 100(2) of the Act:   Amending subsection 100(2) so that the ACA may more easily issue licences in spectrum bands reserved for broadcasting will allow those who wish to use those bands to do so more easily.  The amendment would also allow the ACA to issue licences in spectrum bands without having to request that the ABA first make a formal declaration that licences may be issued.  The amendment would thus reduce the administrative burden on both the ACA and ABA and reduce the time that a prospective licensee had to wait for a licence to be issued.  Retaining the current situation will mean that potential users of the broadcasting bands will be discouraged from using the bands which may therefore remain vacant.

 

Subsection 100(4A) of the Act:   To retain subsection 100(4A) in its current form means that the Act will continue to require that accredited persons guarantee that an apparatus being licensed will not cause “unacceptable” interference.  The Act would therefore continue to impose an inappropriate and, with regard to legal liability, potentially a very expensive burden on existing players in the telecommunications industry, and pose a disincentive for others to enter the industry.  Thus the benefits of competition will be denied to consumers. 

 

Removing the term “unacceptable” interference from subsection 100(4A) of the Act will remove an onerous burden from incumbents in the telecommunications industry.

 

Subsection 266A(1) of the Act:   Allowing the amendment of subsection 266A(1) of the Act so that the ACA is given the power to ensure that persons who issue frequency assignment certificates maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable period after they issue frequency assignment certificates, will allow claims from consumers arising from negligence in the issuing of certificates to be met.  This would benefit both current and potential players in the telecommunications industry and indirectly benefit consumers since it will encourage more players to enter the industry.

 

Not amending subsection 266(A)(1) would mean that claims from consumers arising from the negligent issuing of certificates could not be met.  In effect this would force some people out of the telecommunications industry.

 

Section 315 of the Act:   The current system of penalties payable in lieu of prosecution is complex and the penalties themselves are excessive.  Amending the system of penalties and reducing the penalties will simplify the current system and lead to better regulation of the industry.  Not to amend the penalties will mean that the current undesirable system will remain in force.

 

Satellites:   If the Act is amended to allow the ACA to regulate communications with all space objects (including launch vehicles) which communicate with Australia, then foreign firms will have confidence that their space objects can be controlled while communicating with Australia.  This will encourage companies to provide satellite communications services to Australia and so bring new players and greater competition into the Australian telecommunications marketplace. 

 

Retaining the Act in its current form will be a disincentive to satellite communications companies to operate their services in Australia and so the benefits of increased competition will not flow to consumers.

 

Licence renewal:   Amending the Taxes Acts so that a licence renewal will be deemed to be from the expiration of the previous licence will prevent persons operating licences in the period between the expiration of their old licence and commencement of their new licence without paying fees.  Revenue received by the Commonwealth will be increased as a result of this amendment as the amounts paid by licensees will increase.

 

Retaining the Taxes Acts in their current form will allow the avoidance of taxes to continue.

 

Licence taxes:   Amending the Taxes Acts so that licence tax instalments relate directly to the period the licence is used will make licence tax more transparent and easier for licence holders to understand.  Giving the ACA the power to alter the timing of instalments to suit individual circumstances will result in administrative efficiencies for both the ACA and licence holders. 

 

Retaining the current situation will mean that taxes on licences will continue to not be directly related to the time the licence is used and the timing of instalments will remain inflexible.

 

Broadcasting Band Agreements:   Specifying the criteria under which an agreement for a communications service to operate in a broadcasting band may be revoked, will give certainty to those who wish to operate such communications services.  Industry, and the consumers of the communications services that will be more readily supplied, will thus benefit.

 

Section 23 of the Act:   Amending the Act will allow for enforcement provisions to apply to transmissions from foreign satellites, vessels or aircraft.  This will eliminate a possible source of interference with Australian based communications services and so both industry and consumers will benefit.

 

Reflectors:   Amending the Act will ensure reflectors are appropriately covered by the Act.  Those in the communications industry who wish to use reflectors, and the consumers of their services, will both benefit.

 

Section 187A of the Act:   This amendment will allow the ACA to impose fines of up to two penalty units for individuals and up to 10 penalty units for companies, on manufacturers or importers who fail to retain appropriate records concerning a device covered by mandatory ACA standards.  Currently a penalty unit is $110.  The Act presently allows the ACA only to prosecute offenders and this is relatively expensive.  Taxpayers’ money will be saved by not having to launch expensive prosecutions, the administrative burden on the ACA will be lessened, and those who do not keep appropriate records will face a more appropriate penalty.

 

ACA Standards:   Companies in the radiocommunications industry already possess documentation regarding the standards of the products the companies produce or import.  This amendment simply requires that such documentation be available if necessary to the ACA.  The additional burden on industry should therefore be relatively light, moreover, consumers of products will benefit by being guaranteed that the communications products they buy are fit for the purpose specified.

 

Accreditation Bodies:   The proposed amendment will enable accreditation bodies to charge for the services they provide.  The bodies would compete with each other and so the market would set the prices.  This amendment, by allowing accreditation bodies to recover all their costs, will allow persons to more easily establish accreditation bodies which in turn will provide additional services to the radiocommunications industry.

 

Qualified Persons:   If section 121 of the Act were amended to allow the ACA to devolve the issuing of certificates, which is a purely administrative function, the administrative burden on the ACA would be reduced significantly.

 

Taxing Spectrum Licences:   Some in industry may be disappointed that income from using spectrum licences will be taxable, however, the Government and the taxpayers will benefit substantially.

 

 

5.         Consultation

 

The proposed amendment in relation to the taxing of Spectrum Licences was proposed by the Treasurer.  All of the other amendments proposed have resulted from representations made by individuals and companies in the telecommunications industry, generally over a considerable period of time.

 

The ACA supports all the proposed changes and, with respect to the proposed amendment of subsection 100(2), the ABA has been consulted and also supports the proposed change.

 

The Government supports all the proposed changes. 

 

6.         Conclusion and recommended option

 

To allow the Minister the flexibility to bar certain persons from acquiring and using specified spectrum will aid the introduction of new players to the telecommunications industry, and consequently improve competition.  To allow the ACA to more easily issue licences to use the broadcasting bands, to remove the phrase “unacceptable” interference from the Act, and to allow the ACA to ensure that issuers of frequency assignment certificates maintain indemnity insurance will aid the provision of telecommunications services.  Similarly specifying the criteria under which an agreement for a communications service to operate in a broadcasting band may be revoked, will aid those who operate such communications services.  For these reasons these amendments are recommended.

 

Retaining the current system of penalties payable in lieu of prosecution means effectively retaining an overly complex penalty system that is generally not enforced.  Likewise the Act’s requirement of prosecution for manufacturers and importers who fail to keep appropriate records is unnecessarily harsh and administratively onerous. For this reason it is recommended that the penalty system be amended.

 

Extending the application of the Act to all space objects will assist the satellite communications industry and for this reason this amendment is recommended.  Similarly extending the Act to cover reflectors, and removing the conflict over whether or not the Act applies to foreign vessels/aircraft, will also benefit the industry because the protection of the Act will be extended to more persons in the industry.

 

Ensuring that all relevant documents relating to communications devices are produced when the ACA is determining if the devices meet the relevant standard will guarantee that consumers purchase goods which are fit for the purpose intended.  The amendment is recommended for this reason.

 

Allowing accreditation bodies to charge for all their services will enable accreditation bodies to be more readily established.  Since such bodies will provide services to the communications industry.  For this reason this amendment is recommended.

 

The issuing of certificates to qualified persons is a purely administrative function.  Devolving it will reduce the administrative burden on the ACA.  For this reason this amendment is recommended.

 

Ensuring that operators of licences pay fees relating to the licences they use which related to the actual time a licence is used will make licence taxes more transparent and more equitable.  Allowing the ACA the flexibility to vary the timing of licence tax instalment payments will reduce the administrative burden on licensees.  For these reasons it is recommended that the Taxes Acts be amended.

 

Ensuring that income derived from using spectrum licences is taxable will prevent tax evasion and benefit the taxpayers of Australia.  It will also benefit those in the industry who do pay tax by ensuring that they do not have to compete with those who do not pay tax.

 

7.         Implementation and Review

 

There is no separate formal process planned at this stage to review the regulation.  However, consultation with industry, user groups, unions and the Government will continue through the Radiocommunication Consultative Council.  If concerns are raised, the Government will review the re-allocation and management of spectrum.

 

 



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Act 1999 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for the Act to commence 28 days after the day on which the Bill receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended as set out in applicable items in the Schedule.  Schedule 1 contains proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 relating to space objects.  Schedule 1 also makes consequential amendments to the Development Allowance Authority Act 1992 and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 .   Schedule 2 contains other proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 .   Schedule 3 deals with the application of certain proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 , relating to the income tax treatment of spectrum licences, apparatus licences, civil penalties and the collection of radiocommunications taxes.

 

Schedule 1--Amendments relating to space objects

 

Part 1--Amendment of Part 5.5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

Items 1 to 15 - Multiple amendments

 

These items amend the listed provisions in Part 5.5 of the Act which refer to vessels and aircraft so that the provisions apply to vessels, aircraft and space objects.  Part 5.5 contains the enforcement provisions of the Act.  These proposed amendments reflect the intention that Part 5.5 of the Act applies to space objects in the same way as it applies to vessels and aircraft.  The term space object is defined in item 20.

 



Part 2--Other amendments of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

Item 16 - Proposed amendment of section 5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (definition of Australian satellite )

 

This item repeals the definition of Australian satellite in section 5 of the Act.  This definition is no longer needed as the Bill will provide for the Act to regulate space objects , and not Australian satellites, which are the only space objects currently regulated by the Act.   Item 20 contains a new definition of space object.

 

Item 17 - Proposed amendment of section 5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to insert a definition of Australian space object into the Act

 

This item inserts a definition of Australian space object into the Act.  This definition provides that the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) may determine when a space object is an Australian space object for the purposes of the Act.  A determination is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.  The determination must therefore be notified in the Commonwealth Gazette , tabled in Parliament and will be subject to Parliamentary disallowance.

 

Item 18 - Proposed amendment of section 5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to insert a definition of foreign space object into the Act

 

This item inserts a definition of foreign space object into the Act.  This is a space object (as defined by item 20) that is not an Australian space object (as defined by item 17).

 

Item 19 - Proposed amendment of section 5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (definition of member of the crew )

 

This item amends the definition of member of the crew in section 5 of the Act so that the definition applies to a member of the crew of a space object as well as a member of the crew of an aircraft or vessel.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to space objects in the same way as it applies to vessels and aircraft.

 

Item 20 - Proposed amendment of section 5 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to insert a definition of space object into the Act

 

This item inserts a definition of space object into the Act.  The definition is intended to cover objects including, but not limited to, satellites and launch vehicles.  Space objects may travel to, and return from, outer space.

 

Item 21 - Proposed amendment of paragraphs 7(1)(a) and (b) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraphs 7(1)(a) and (b) of the Act which provides that a radiocommunications device is a radiocommunications transmitter, other than a transmitter of a kind specified in the Radiocommunications Regulations, or a radiocommunications receiver of a kind specified in the Radiocommunications Regulations.

 

The proposed amendment provides that the ACA may specify in a determination what is not a radiocommunications transmitter, and what is a radiocommunications receiver.  This will allow the ACA to more quickly respond to the need for amending the definition of radiocommunications device .  The proposed amendment at item 22 provides that a determination is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .   The determination must therefore be notified in the Commonwealth Gazette , tabled in Parliament and will be subject to Parliamentary disallowance.

 

The ACA is intending to make a determination under the proposed amendment after the Bill receives the Royal Assent and before the commencement of the Bill, in reliance on section 4 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.  There will be no immediate effect on regulatory arrangements in relation to the definition of radiocommunications devices as the ACA will include all devices currently specified in the Radiocommunications Regulations in the determination.

 

Item 22 - Proposed new subsection 7(5) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new subsection to section 7 of the Act which provides that determinations under section 7 of the Act are disallowable instruments for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.  This is intended to ensure that the ACA’s power to make determinations under section 7 of the Act is subject to the scrutiny of the Parliament.

 

Item 23 - Proposed new section 10A of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new section to the Act which provides that the ACA may determine that a particular object is not a space object for the purposes of the Act.  A determination under this proposed new section is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

 

The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that an object or class of objects which fall within the broad definition of space object can be determined by the ACA not to be a space object if, in the opinion of the ACA, the object or class of objects should not be a space object for the purposes of the Act.

 

For example, there are currently proposals for the use of stratospheric balloons to provide radiocommunications services.  Because a stratospheric balloon is beyond the major portion of the earth’s atmosphere, it would be a space object within the proposed new definition of space object in section 5 of the Act.  It may not, however, be appropriate to regulate a stratospheric balloon as a space object.  The International Telecommunication Union has determined that stratospheric balloon services should be considered to be fixed services.  As a result of this, the ACA may need to regulate stratospheric balloons as a fixed service instead of as a space service.

 

Item 24 - Proposed amendment of subparagraph 16(1)(a)(i) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subparagraph 16(1)(a)(i) of the Act so that the subparagraph applies to a member of the crew of a foreign space object in the same way that it applies to a member of the crew of a foreign vessel or foreign aircraft.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to foreign space objects in the same way as it applies to foreign vessels and foreign aircraft.

 

Item 25 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 16(1)(b) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraph 16(1)(b) of the Act so that the paragraph applies to members of the crew of Australian space objects in the same way that it applies to members of the crew of Australian aircraft or vessels.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to Australian space objects in the same way as it applies to Australian vessels and Australian aircraft.

 

Item 26 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 16(1)(c) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraph 16(1)(c) of the Act by replacing the reference to “Australian satellites” with “Australian space objects”.  This is consistent with the proposed amendment of the Act so that the Act regulates space objects and not only Australian satellites, which are the only space objects currently subject to the Act.

 

Item 27 - Proposed new paragraph 16(1)(ca) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new paragraph 16(1)(ca) to the Act which provides that the Act applies outside Australia to foreign space objects in the circumstances specified in a determination by the ACA.  The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that foreign space objects can be made subject to the Act when there is a regulatory need to do so.  This regulatory need would only arise if there was some connection between the foreign space objects and Australia.  For example, an ACA determination made under the proposed amendment could provide that the Act applies to:

 

(a)        a foreign space object which is to be launched from, or to land in, Australia;           and

 

(b)        a foreign space object which provides communications services to Australia.

 

While foreign space objects may have a connection with Australia that justifies the space objects being subject to the Act, foreign space objects are principally regulated by other nations.

 

Item 28 - Proposed new subsection 16(4) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item provides that a determination under proposed new paragraph 16(1)(ca) of the Act is a disallowable instrument for the purposes of section 46A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.  The determination must therefore be notified in the Commonwealth Gazette , tabled in Parliament and will be subject to Parliamentary disallowance.

 

Item 29 - Proposed amendment of subsection 23(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 23(1) of the Act which provides that the Act does not apply to space satellites that are not Australian satellites.  The proposed amendment provides that the Act does not apply to foreign space objects, except in accordance with a determination by the ACA under paragraph 16(1)(ca) of the Act.  Because foreign space objects are principally regulated by other countries, the Act only needs to provide the power to regulate foreign space objects that have some connection with Australia.

 

Item 30 - Proposed new subsection 23(5) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new subsection 23(5) to the Act which provides that nothing in section 23 limits either section 195 or Part 5.5 of the Act.  Section 195 of the Act, as amended by this Bill, provides for penalties for the operation of a transmitter on board a foreign vessel, foreign aircraft or foreign space object.  Part 5.5 of the Act is the enforcement part of the Act.

 

Item 31 - Proposed amendments of paragraph 49(1)(a), subparagraph 108(3)(c)(i) and paragraph 172(a) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraph 49(1)(a), subparagraph 108(3)(c)(i) and paragraph 172(a) of the Act so that the provisions apply to space objects as well as to vessels and aircraft.  Paragraphs 49(1)(a) and 172(a) set out defences to the offence provisions in the Act.  Subparagraph 108(3)(c)(i) relates to the requirement in paragraph 108(2)(g) for an apparatus licensee to comply with directions from the police and emergency services.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to space objects in the same way as it applies to vessels and aircraft.

 

Item 32 - Proposed amendment of section 192 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends section 192 of the Act so that the provision applies to space objects as well as to vessels and aircraft.  Section 192 provides that, subject to the defence in section 196, a person must not use a transmitter in a way likely to interfere with radiocommunications if the person knows that such interference is likely to prejudice the safe operation of an aircraft or vessel.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to space objects in the same way as it applies to vessels and aircraft.

 

Item 33 - Proposed amendment of subsection 195(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 195(1) of the Act so that the provision applies to foreign space objects in the same way as it applies to foreign vessels and foreign aircraft.  Subsection 195(1) provides that, subject to the defence in subsection 196(1) and to the burden of proof provision in subsection 196(2), and the qualification in subsection 195(2), a person must not, outside Australia, and without the ACA’s permission, use a transmitter on board a foreign vessel or aircraft:

 

(a)        for the purposes of transmitting radio and television programs to the general public; or

 

(b)        in a manner that the person knows is likely to interfere substantially with radiocommunications within Australia or between a place in Australia and a place outside Australia.

 

This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to foreign space objects in the same way as it applies to foreign vessels and foreign aircraft.

 

Item 34 - Proposed amendment of paragraphs 196(1)(a) and 227(2)(a) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraphs 196(1)(a) and 227(2)(a) of the Act so that the provisions apply to space objects in the same way that the provisions apply to vessels and aircraft.  These provisions provide defences to offence provisions in the Act.  This proposed amendment reflects the intention that the Act apply to space objects in the same way as it applies to vessels and aircraft.

 

Part 3--Consequential amendments



Development Allowance Authority Act 1992



Item 35 - Proposed repeal of definition of Australian satellite in section 6 of the Development Allowance Authority Act

 

As a consequence of item 16, this item repeals the definition of Australian satellite in section 6 of the Development Allowance Authority Act 1992 .

 

Item 36 - Proposed insertion of definition of Australian space object in section 6 of the Development Allowance Authority Act

 

This item inserts the definition of Australian space object that is inserted into the Radiocommunications Act 1992 by this Bill into section 6 of the Development Allowance Authority Act 1992 .

 



Item 37 - Proposed replacement of the term “satellite” in section 12 of the Development Allowance Authority Act with the term “space object”

 

This item omits the term “satellite” in section 12 of the Development Allowance Authority Act 1992 and replaces it with the term “space object”.

 

Income Tax Assessment Act 1936



Item 38 - Proposed repeal of definition of Australian satellite in subsection 82AQ(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act

 

As a consequence of item 16, this item repeals the definition of Australian satellite in subsection 82AQ(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 .

 

Item 39 - Proposed insertion of definition of Australian space object in subsection 82AQ(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act

 

This item inserts the definition of Australian space object that is inserted into the Radiocommunications Act 1992 by this Bill into subsection 82AQ(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 .

 

Item 40 -- Proposed replacement of the term “satellite” in subsection 82AQ(4) of the Income Tax Assessment Act with the term “space object”

 

This item omits the term “satellite” in subsection 82AQ(4) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and replaces it with the term “space object”.

 

 

Schedule 2--Other Amendments

 

Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

Item 1 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(2) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item expands the definition of radiocommunications transmitter so that the definition includes anything designed or intended for use for the purpose of radiocommunication by means of the reflection of radio emissions and that the ACA determines in writing to be a radiocommunications transmitter for the purposes of this Act.

 

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that the Act can apply to artificial or natural things that are used for reflection.  This power will allow the ACA to minimise the potential for interference to radiocommunications services that make deliberate use of reflectors, whether artificial or natural.

 

For example, a person may use a particular mountain for the purpose of radiocommunications as a reflector of emissions.  The proposed amendment will allow the ACA to determine that the mountain, or a part of the mountain, is a radiocommunications transmitter for the purposes of the Act.  The ACA will then be able to licence the use of the mountain for a radiocommunications service and minimise the potential for interference to that service in the same way that it minimises interference to other licensed services.

 

Item 2 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(3) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item expands the definition of radiocommunications receiver so that the definition includes anything designed or intended for use for the purpose of radiocommunication by means of the reflection of radio emissions and that the ACA determines in writing to be a radiocommunications receiver for the purposes of this Act.

 

The purpose of the amendment is to ensure that the Act can apply to artificial or natural things that are used for reflection.  This power will allow the ACA to minimise the potential for interference to radiocommunications services that make deliberate use of reflectors, whether artificial or natural.

 

For example, a person may use a particular mountain for the purpose of radiocommunications as a reflector of emissions.  The proposed amendment will allow the ACA to determine that the mountain, or a part of the mountain, is a radiocommunications receiver for the purposes of the Act.  The ACA will then be able to licence the use of the mountain for a radiocommunications service and minimise the potential for interference to that service in the same way that it minimises interference to other licensed services.

 

Item 3 - Proposed amendment of section 31 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item inserts new subsections 31(2) - 31(7) into section 31 of the Act.  Section 31 of the Act provides that the Minister may, after consultation with the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), and in accordance with the spectrum plan, designate a part of the spectrum as being primarily for broadcasting purposes, and refer it to the ABA for planning under Part 3 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

 

Proposed new subsection 31(2) of the Act provides for the ACA and the ABA to make a written agreement allowing licences to be issued in the broadcasting services bands.  This is intended to provide an alternative to section 34 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, which allows the ABA to decide that part of the radiofrequency spectrum allocated to the ABA under subsection 31(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992, but not currently being used, may be used for other purposes.  Among these other purposes is allocation to the ACA for radiocommunications licences.

 

If the ACA and the ABA make an agreement under proposed new subsection 31(2), the ACA will have the power to issue radiocommunications licences in the broadcasting services bands irrespective of whether the radiofrequency spectrum is currently being used for broadcasting services The proposed amendment will allow more efficient use of the radiofrequency spectrum, including concurrent use of the spectrum for broadcasting services and radiocommunications services, where appropriate.  Concurrent use of the spectrum is not possible under section 34 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 .

 

Proposed new subsection 31(3) provides that the ACA and ABA may agree to vary or revoke a subsection (2) agreement.

 

Proposed new subsection 31(4) permits the ABA to revoke a subsection (2) agreement if it considers the agreement is preventing it from properly performing its planning functions under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 .

 

Proposed new subsection 31(5) provides that the ABA must consult the ACA and affected licensees before revoking a subsection (2) agreement.

 

Proposed new subsection 31(6) provides that a subsection 31(2) agreement must not be inconsistent with the spectrum plan.  The spectrum plan is the plan made by the ACA under section 30 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 .  The plan divides the spectrum into frequency bands for the purpose of regulating radiocommunications under the Act.

 

Proposed new subsection 31(7) provides that if a subsection 31(2) agreement is made, varied or revoked, the ACA must publish a notice in the Gazette which states that an agreement has been made, varied or revoked, and providing details of where copies may be purchased.  This is to ensure that these agreements, which impact on users of the radiofrequency spectrum, are readily accessible to members of the public.

 

Item 4 - Proposed repeal of subsection 32(2) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and substitution of new subsection

 

This item repeals subsection 32(2) of the Act which provides that subsection (1) does not apply in relation to a frequency band within a part of the spectrum referred to the ABA under section 31.  Subsection 32(1) provides that the ACA may prepare frequency band plans each relating to one or more frequency bands.

 

Proposed new subsection 32(2) provides that the ACA may only prepare a frequency band plan within a part of the spectrum referred to the ABA under subsection 31(1) if the frequency band is within a part of the spectrum that is covered by a subsection 31(2) agreement and the plan is not inconsistent with any frequency allotment plan prepared by the ABA under section 25 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

 

The proposed amendment ensures that the ACA may prepare a frequency band plan in a part of the frequency designated for use by the Minister as primarily for broadcasting services under section 31 of the Act, but only in relation to that part of the spectrum to which a proposed new subsection 31(2) agreement applies.

 

Item 5 - Proposed amendment of subsection 36(5) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 36(5) of the Act which provides that the Minister must not give a notice to the ACA to designate a specified part of the spectrum to be allocated by issuing spectrum licences if the notice relates to spectrum referred to the ACA under section 31 of the Act.

 

Proposed new subsection 36(5) provides that the Minister must not give the ACA such a notice that relates to spectrum referred to the ABA under subsection 31(1), unless the part of the spectrum that the notice relates to is covered by an agreement under subsection 31(2).  The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that if there is an agreement under subsection 31(2) and the ACA may issue licences in the broadcasting services bands to radiocommunications users, these licences may be spectrum licences.

 

Item 6 - Proposed new subsection 60(6A) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item proposes a new subsection 60(6A) be added to the Act to provide that in determining procedures to apply to the allocation of spectrum licences by the ACA, the ACA may impose a limit of nil on the amount of spectrum that may be acquired by any one person, or a specified person or class of persons under subsection 60(5) of the Act.  The purpose of the new provision is to allow the Minister to direct the ACA to impose a limit of nil on the amount of spectrum which may be acquired by any one person in order to aid the introduction of greater competition into the telecommunications industry.

 

Subsection 60(5) of the Act provides that procedures determined by the ACA for allocating spectrum licences may:

 

(a)        impose limits on the aggregate parts of the spectrum that may be used by any one person or a specified person or a class of persons; or

 

(b)        impose limits on the aggregate parts of the spectrum that may in total be used by the members of a specified group of persons.

 

However, the word “limit” is not usually understood to encompass a nil amount.   The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that, when spectrum is allocated by auction, it is possible for the ACA to determine that a certain person (or persons) may be allocated a nil amount of specified spectrum in a specified area.  This may be necessary to encourage new, smaller players in the telecommunications industry to bid for spectrum which is currently being used by larger, more established incumbents.

 

Item 7 - Proposed amendment of subsection 60(8) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 60(8) so that it includes the reference to proposed new subsection 60(6A).

 



Item 8 - Proposed new section 69A of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 -Conditions about residency etc.

 

This item inserts a new section 69A into the Act which deals with special conditions about the residency and tax status of the holders of spectrum licences.

 

Proposed new subsection 69A(1) provides that a spectrum licence must include a condition that, at all times when the licensee derives income, profits or gains from operating radiocommunications devices under the licence or from authorising others to do so, either the licensee is to be an Australian resident, or the income, profits or gains are to be attributable to a permanent establishment in Australia through which the licensee carries on business.

 

Proposed new subsection 69A(2) provides that a spectrum licence must include a condition that, at all times when an authorised person derives income, profits or gains from allowing third parties to operate radiocommunications devices under the licence, either the authorised person is to be an Australian resident, or the income, profits or gains are to be attributable to a permanent establishment in Australia through which the authorised person carries on business.

 

Proposed new subsection 69A(3) defines terms used in section 69A.

Australian resident has the same meaning as in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

Authorised person means a person authorised under section 68 by the licensee of a spectrum licence to operate radiocommunications device under the licence.

Permanent establishment has the same meaning as in an international tax agreement, if the licensee or authorised person, whichever is appropriate, is a resident of a country or other jurisdiction with which Australia has an agreement within the meaning of the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 .   In any other case, permanent establishment has the same meaning as in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

 

Item 9 - Proposed amendment of subsection 71(2) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 71(2) so that the subsection includes a reference to new section 69A.

 

Item 10 - Proposed repeal of subsection 100(2) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and substitution of new subsection

 

This item repeals subsection 100(2) of the Act which provides that the ACA must not issue an apparatus licence within a part of the spectrum designated under section 31 of the Act except in accordance with a decision of the ABA under subsection 34(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.  Subsection 34(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 empowers the ABA to decide that part of the radiofrequency spectrum allocated to the ABA under section 31 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 is available for other uses.

 

Proposed new subsection 100(2) provides that the ACA must not issue an apparatus licence authorising operation of a radiocommunications transmitter within a part of the spectrum designated under subsection 31(1) unless:

 

(a)        the issue is in accordance with a decision of the ABA under subsection 34(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 ; or

 

(b)        the issue is in accordance with an agreement made between the ACA and the ABA under subsection 31(2) of this Act.

 

This proposed amendment ensures that the ACA may issue apparatus licences in the broadcasting services bands if there is an agreement under proposed new subsection 31(2) between the ACA and the ABA.

 

Item 11 - Proposed amendment of subsection 100(4A) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 100(4A) of the Act which provides that in deciding whether to issue an apparatus licence the ACA may have regard to a frequency assignment certificate stating that the operation of a device under the licence will not cause an unacceptable level of interference to the operation of radiocommunications.  Frequency assignment certificates are issued by accredited persons.  Due to the physical laws of propagation of radiocommunications, it is impossible for an accredited person to state with certainty that the operation of a device will not cause unacceptable interference.

 

The proposed amendment replaces this unrealistic statement about interference with a requirement that the certificate state that the operation of a device will satisfy any conditions that are required to be satisfied in a determination made by the ACA under section 266A of the Act.  (Section 266A allows the ACA to determine conditions applying to the issue of certificates under the Act, including a frequency assignment certificate.)

 

Item 12 - Proposed repeal of subsection 100(4B) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item repeals subsection 100(4B) of the Act which provides that the ACA may determine what are unacceptable levels of interference for the purposes of section 100.  This is consequential upon the proposed amendment at item 11.

 

Item 13 - Proposed new section 122A of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new section 122A to the Act to allow the ACA to delegate the power in section 121 to issue certificates of proficiency. This significantly reduces the administrative burden on the ACA.

 

Proposed new subsection 122A(1) allows the ACA to delegate the power to issue a certificate of proficiency under section 121 to a body approved by the ACA to conduct approved examinations.

 

Proposed new subsection 122A(2) provides that the delegate is not entitled to make a final decision in refusing to issue a certificate of proficiency.  If the delegate decides not to issue a certificate, the delegate must refer the application to the ACA for decision.  This is intended to ensure that any person who is refused a certificate of proficiency can avail themselves of the review rights in Part 5.6 of the Act.

 

Proposed new subsection 122A (3) provides that the power conferred on the ACA to delegate the power to issue certificates of proficiency is additional to those powers of delegation conferred by section 238 of this Act and section 49 of the Australian Communications Authority Act 1997.

 

Item 14 - Proposed amendment of subsection 129(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 129(1) of the Act to allow a licensee of an apparatus licence to apply for renewal of the licence at any time beginning 6 months before the licence is due to expire and ending 60 days after it expires.

 

The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that the ACA can issue a renewal of a licence up to 60 days after the date of expiry of the licence.  The result of this proposed amendment, taken together with the proposed amendment in item 15, will be that renewal up to 60 days after the date of expiry will take effect on the date of expiry of the licence.  If a person seeks to have a licence renewed more than 60 days after the expiry of the licence, they will have to apply for a new licence.

 

Item 15 - Proposed amendment of subsection 130(4) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 130(4) of the Act so that a new licence comes into force, or is taken to come into force, immediately after the expiration of the licence that it replaces.

 

The proposed amendment is intended to ensure that the ACA can issue a renewal of a licence up to 60 days after the date of expiry of the licence under proposed new subsection 129(1) and back-date the issue of the renewal to the expiry date of the licence.

 

Item 16 - Proposed amendment of subsection 145(3) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends subsection 145(3) of the Act, which deals with certificates which state that the operation of a device under a spectrum licence does not a cause an unacceptable level of interference, in the same way that item 11 amends subsection 100(4A).

 

The proposed amendment replaces this unrealistic statement about interference with a requirement that a certificate state that operation of a device will satisfy any conditions that are required to be satisfied in a determination made by the ACA under section 266A of the Act.

 

Item 17 - Proposed new subsection 263(2B) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item adds a new subsection 263(2B) to the Act so that conditions that the ACA includes in determinations under section 266A can relate to matters existing or arising at, before or after the time when a certificate is issued.  Currently, subsection 263(2A) provides that conditions are limited to the issuing of a certificate.  The effect of this is that the ACA cannot include a condition in relation to accreditation that the accredited person is required to maintain professional indemnity insurance for a reasonable number of years after the person has issued frequency assignment certificates.

 

The ACA needs to be able to impose such a condition to protect radiocommunications licensees who rely on the accuracy of frequency assignment certificates.  This is because the professional indemnity insurance held by accredited persons allows claims by reference to the event giving rise to the claim, not to the time of the act or omission on the part of the accredited person which ultimately gave rise to the claim.  This act or omission would occur at some time leading up to the issue of the certificate, or on the issue of the certificate.  The result of this is that if the accredited person has ceased to be in the business of issuing frequency assignment certificates when the event giving rise to an insurance claim is made, the accredited person cannot claim on their insurance.  The implication of this is that a radiocommunications licensee who has been sued by a second radiocommunications licensee for damages arising from interference, is less likely to be successful in seeking a contribution from an accredited person in circumstances in which the damages claim arose because the accredited person issued a certificate that should not have been issued, or should not have been issued in the terms it was issued.

 

Item 18 - Proposed new paragraph 264(ba) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends the Act to include a new paragraph which provides that the ACA may withdraw an accredited person’s accreditation if the person has issued a certificate in breach of any condition mentioned in subsection 263(2A) of the Act.  As a result of the proposed amendment at item 17, a condition may be a condition relating to matters existing or arising at, before or after the time when the certificate was issued.

 

Item 19 - Proposed new subsection 266(2A) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item provides that the principles that govern the accreditation process and specify the matters for which the ACA may accredit persons include qualifications and requirements which relate to matters existing or arising at, before or after the time of accreditation.

 

Like the other amendments in items 17 and 18, this proposed amendment is intended to ensure that the conditions which the ACA may impose on the issuing of certificates may include matters existing or arising at, before or after the time of accreditation.

 

Item 20 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 279(1)(e) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item omits “quality assurance program” from paragraph 279(1)(e) of the Act, so that an inspector may require all relevant documentation needed to ensure that communications products comply with their relevant standards to be produced. 

 

Item 21 - Proposed new section 298A - Fees imposed by certain bodies

 

This item adds a new section 298A to the Act which provides that the ACA may determine that certain bodies may charge fees for performing functions under the Act.

 

Proposed new subsection 298A(1) provides that the ACA may, by notice in the Gazette , determine that any of the following bodies may charge fees for performing their functions under the Act:

(a)                 a specified body or organisation approved by the ACA to conduct approved examinations;

(b)                a specified accreditation body determined under subsection 183(1); and

(c)                 a specified approving body determined under subsection 183A(1).

 

The ACA may also delegate the power to issue certificates of proficiency under section 121 to a specified body or organisation approved by the ACA to conduct approved examinations (see item 13).  As a result, such a body may be determined by the ACA to be permitted to charge fees for conducting approved examinations and issuing certificates of proficiency.

 

Proposed new subsection 298A(2) provides that the fee charged by the body may not be such as to amount to taxation.  A fee which recovers the direct and indirect costs of providing a service will not amount to taxation.

 

Item 22 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 314(2)(d) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992

 

This item amends paragraph 314(2)(d) of the Act which provides that the regulations may enable a person who is alleged to have committed an offence referred to in paragraphs 315(a), (b), (c), (ca) or (d) to pay a penalty in lieu of prosecution in accordance with section 315.

 

The proposed amendment is needed because item 23 repeals section 315 of the Act and replaces it with a new section 315 which includes a table of the offence provisions in the Act.

 

Item 23 - Proposed repeal of section 315 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and substitution of a new section

 

This item repeals section 315 of the Act and replaces it with a new section which is intended to simplify and clarify the provision, and reduce the amount of penalties payable in lieu of prosecution.  Reduction of the amount of penalties payable in lieu of prosecution is intended to encourage payment of penalties in lieu, which are a cost-effective alternative to prosecution for the ACA and persons alleged to have committed offences under the Act.

 

Proposed new subsection 315(1) provides that the table sets out the amount of a penalty in lieu for the purposes of paragraph 314(2)(d) of the Act.  The table includes a distinction between the penalties applicable to offences alleged to have been committed by an individual and a body corporate.  A lower penalty applies in relation to an offence alleged to have been committed by an individual.

 

The table reproduces the provisions in section 315 of the Act to which a penalty in lieu of prosecution may apply, and includes one additional provision, section 187A.  Section 187A of the Act provides that it is an offence for a manufacturer or importer to fail to comply with requirements specified in an ACA notice under subsection 182(1).  Subsection 182(1) provides that the ACA may, by notice in the Gazette , require any person who imports a device included in a specified class of devices to apply to each such device a label that indicates whether the device meets the requirements of the standards specified in the notice, and/or whether the device complies with the class licence specified in the notice.  In particular, section 187A is relied upon when a manufacturer of importer has failed to retain records which a subsection 182(1) notice requires the manufacturer or importer to obtain.

 

Proposed new subsection 315(2) sets out the amount of a penalty payable in respect of an offence an individual is alleged to have committed against sections 46 or 47 of the Act, where the device which is the subject of the alleged offence is covered by a class licence, and where the device was of a kind covered by any other kind of licence. Proposed new subsection 315(3) duplicates proposed new subsection 315(2) in relation to an offence that a body corporate is alleged to have committed against sections 46 or 47 of the Act and provides that the applicable maximum penalty is 5 times that applicable to an individual.

 

The lower penalty applying in relation to a device covered by a class licence in both proposed new subsections 315(2) and (3) acknowledges that, where a device is covered by a class licence, the person using the device has not applied for a licence to use the device, and is not required to hold a licence.  Therefore it is reasonable to expect that persons operating devices covered by class licences are less likely to be aware of the conditions imposed on the device under a class licence than persons operating devices covered by other licences.  Consequently, persons operating a device under a class licence and alleged to have breached sections 46 or 47 of the Act should not be as harshly punished for breaching conditions of the licence.  Class licences apply to common, numerous devices which are generally regarded as not being likely to cause interference with other radiocommunications devices.

 

In contrast, an offence in relation to a device which is covered by an apparatus or a spectrum licence is likely to be more serious because these devices may be more likely to cause interference.  Consequently, a higher penalty applies in relation to an alleged breaches of sections 46 or 47 of the Act by a person using a device covered by an apparatus or spectrum licence.

 

 

Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983

 

Item 24 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(2) of the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983

 

This item amends subsection 7(2) of the Act so that apparatus licence tax imposed on the anniversary of the day on which the instrument came into force is payable on that anniversary.

 

The proposed amendment reflects that tax is calculated according to the commencement date of a licence, and that the anniversary of the commencement date is the relevant date on which annual payments of tax are due.

 

Item 25 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(3) of the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983

 

This item amends subsection 7(3) of the Act so that apparatus licence tax payable on the holding of an apparatus licence on the anniversary of the day on which the instrument came into force is payable on that anniversary.

 

The proposed amendment reflects that tax is calculated according to the commencement date of a licence, and that the anniversary of the commencement date is the relevant date on which annual payments of tax are due.

 

Item 26 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(4) of the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983

 

This item amends subsection 7(4) of the Act so that apparatus licence tax imposed on the holding of an apparatus licence 60 days after the anniversary of the day on which the instrument came into force is payable on that day.

 

This proposed amendment reflects, if a person is allowed to pay apparatus licence tax up to 60 days after the anniversary of the licence, the relevant day on which payment is due is 60 days after the licence came into force.  This proposed amendment reflects that tax is calculated according to the commencement date of a licence, and that this date, the date the licence comes into force, may not be same date as the date on which the licence was issued, and consequently, tax on renewal of the licence should refer to the day on which the licence came into force.  The ACA has the discretion to allow the holders of certain licences to pay the licence tax up to 60 days after it would otherwise be payable.

 

Schedule 3--Application of amendments

 

Item 1 - Income tax treatment of spectrum licences

 

The amendments made by items 8 and 9 of Schedule 2 apply in relation to the issue of licences after 11 March 1998.  On 11 March 1998, the Treasurer issued a press release setting out measures to ensure that Australia is able to assert its taxing rights over income from the use of spectrum licences, where a spectrum licence is owned by a non-resident.

 

Item 2 - Amendments relating to the issue of licences

 

This item provides that the proposed amendments in items 11, 12, 14 and 15 of Schedule 2 apply in relation to the issue of licences after the commencement of these items.  These items commence 28 days after Royal Assent.

 

Item 3 - Civil penalties

 

This item provides that the proposed amendments in items 22 and 23 of Schedule 2 apply in relation to all offences, whether alleged to have been committed before or after those items commence, in respect of which no penalty had yet been imposed as at the time of commencement.  Items 22 and 23 commence 28 days after Royal Assent.

 

Item 4 - Time tax becomes payable

 

This item provides that the proposed amendments in items 24, 25 and 26 of Schedule 2 apply in relation to the imposition of tax in respect of an instrument, if both:

 

(a)        the relevant anniversary of the issue of the instrument; and

 

(b)        the corresponding anniversary of the instrument coming into force;

occur after the commencement of those items.

 

Items 24, 25 and 26 commence 28 days after Royal Assent.



 

RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (RECEIVER LICENCE TAX)

AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

OUTLINE

 

Currently the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983 , and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 (the Taxes Acts) provide that licence tax instalments are due on the anniversary of the date of issue of a licence, not the anniversary of the date the licence commenced.  It is inappropriate that a tax on a licence used for a particular period not relate to the particular period concerned.  The proposed amendments in this Bill and similar proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 will correct this deficiency.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Amendment Act 1999 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for the Act to commence on the day on which Schedule 2 of the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Act 1999 commences.  The Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Act 1999 commences 28 days after the day on which the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.

 

 

Schedule 1--Proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

Item 1 - Proposed amendment of the title of the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends the title of the Act so that it reads:

 

            “An Act to impose a tax on the issue, the anniversary of the coming into force and the holding of a receiver licence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992”.



Item 2 - Proposed amendment of paragraphs 6(3)(d) and 6(5)(b) of the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends paragraphs 6(3)(d) and 6(5)(b) of the Act so that tax is imposed on each anniversary of the day the licence came into force.  This proposed amendment reflects that tax is calculated according to the commencement date of a receiver licence, and that this date, the date the licence comes into force, may not be same date as the date on which the licence was issued.

 

Item 3 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 6(6)(b) of the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends paragraph 6(6)(b) of the Act so that if the holder of a receiver licence has elected that subsection 6(3) apply, and has failed to pay tax on an anniversary of the day the licence came into force within 60 days after that anniversary (the 60 day period), subsection (3) ceases to apply the day after the end of the 60 day period and tax is imposed on the holding of the licence on that day.

 

Subsection 6(3) allows the holder of a receiver licence to pay the tax on the licence once every year that the licence is in force.

 

Item 4 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(1) of the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends subsection 7(1) of the Act so that the amount of tax in respect of the issue of a receiver licence, the anniversary of a receiver licence coming into force, or the holding of a receiver licence is the amount determined by the ACA.

 

Item 5 - Application of proposed amendments of the Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item provides that the proposed amendments made by this Schedule apply in relation to the imposition of tax in respect of a receiver licence, if both:

 

(a)        the relevant anniversary of the issue of the licence; and

 

(b)        the corresponding anniversary of the licence coming into force;

 

occur after the commencement of this item.

 

This item commences 28 days after the day on which the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 receives Royal Assent.

 



RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (TRANSMITTER LICENCE TAX) AMENDMENT BILL 1999

 

OUTLINE

 

Currently the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983 , and the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 (the Taxes Acts) provide that licence tax instalments are due on the anniversary of the date of issue of a licence, not the anniversary of the date the licence commenced.  It is inappropriate that a tax on a licence used for a particular period not relate to the particular period concerned.  The proposed amendments in this Bill and similar proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Act 1983 will correct this deficiency.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Amendment Act 1999 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for the Act to commence on the day on which Schedule 2 of the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Act 1999 commences.  The Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Act 1999 commences 28 days after the day on which the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.

 

 

Schedule 1--Proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

 

Item 1 - Proposed amendment of the title of the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends the title of the Act so that it reads:

 

            “An Act to impose a tax on the issue, the anniversary of the coming into force and the holding of a transmitter licence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992”.

 



Item 2 - Proposed amendment of paragraphs 6(3)(d) and 6(5)(b) of the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends paragraphs 6(3)(d) and 6(5)(b) of the Act so that tax is imposed on each anniversary of the day the licence came into force.  This proposed amendment reflects that tax is calculated according to the commencement date of a transmitter licence, and that this date, the date the licence comes into force, may not be same date as the date on which the licence was issued.

 

Item 3 - Proposed amendment of paragraph 6(6)(b) of the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends paragraph 6(6)(b) of the Act so that if the holder of a transmitter licence has elected that subsection 6(3) apply, and has failed to pay tax on an anniversary of the day on which the licence came into force within 60 days after that anniversary (the 60 day period), subsection (3) ceases to apply the day after the end of the 60 day period and tax is imposed on the holding of the licence on that day.

 

Subsection 6(3) allows the holder of a transmitter licence to pay the tax on the licence once every year that the licence is in force.

 

Item 4 - Proposed amendment of subsection 7(1) of the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item amends subsection 7(1) of the Act so that the amount of tax in respect of the issue of a transmitter licence, the anniversary of a transmitter licence coming into force, or the holding of a transmitter licence is the amount determined by the ACA.

 

Item 5 - Application of proposed amendments of the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Act 1983

 

This item provides that the proposed amendments made by this Schedule apply in relation to the imposition of tax in respect of a transmitter licence, if both:

 

(a)        the relevant anniversary of the issue of the licence; and

 

(b)        the corresponding anniversary of the instrument coming into force;

 

occur after the commencement of this item.

 

This item commences 28 days after the day on which the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 receives Royal Assent.