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Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill 2001

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1998-1999-2000

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BROADCASTING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 



BROADCASTING LEGISLATION

AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill (the Bill) amends the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA), the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (the ABC Act), and the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (the SBS Act):

(a)                 to transfer provisions giving the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) the specific function of datacasting from the BSA to their respective enabling legislation; and

(b)                to make a number of minor amendments to the provisions of the BSA inserted by the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Digital Television and Datacasting) Act 2000 (the Digital Act).

 

Clause 39 and 40 of Schedule 6 of the BSA, which were inserted by the Digital Act,  give the ABC and the SBS the function of providing datacasting services under a datacasting licence if those Corporations respectively apply for a datacasting licence. These provisions were included in Schedule 6 to achieve the following objectives:

§   making any ABC or SBS involvement in datacasting a matter for their respective Boards (and therefore not making it a charter function of those organisations); and

§   requiring any ABC or SBS involvement in datacasting to be on the same basis as other datacasters.

 

At present there is no reference to the provision of datacasting services in either the ABC Act or the SBS Act. In order to best reflect the ABC’s and SBS’s ability to datacast, the Bill amends the BSA by removing the provision for ABC and SBS datacasting, and amends the ABC and SBS Acts by inserting equivalent clauses. 

 

The Bill also rectifies a number of minor errors that occurred as a consequence of various amendments made in the Senate to the Broadcasting Amendment (Digital Television and Datacasting) Bill (the Digital Bill) during consideration of the Bill in June 2000.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The Bill is not expected to have any impact on Commonwealth expenditure or revenue. 

 

 



 

BROADCASTING LEGISLATION

AMENDMENT BILL 2000

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides that the Bill, when enacted, may be cited as the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Act 2000.

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides that the Bill, when enacted, will commence on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides, in effect, that provisions in the BSA, the ABC Act and the SBS Act that are specified respectively in Schedules 1, 2 and 3 to the Bill are amended or repealed in accordance with the applicable items of those Schedules, and that other items in the Schedules have effect according to their terms.

 

 

Schedule 1 - Proposed amendments to the

Broadcasting Service Act 1992

 

Item 1 - Amendment to subparagraph 5A(2)(o)(i) of Schedule 4

 

Clause 5A of Schedule 4 of the BSA defines a ‘ multi-channelled national television broadcasting service ’ for the purpose of the Schedule. Subclause 5A(2) sets out the types of programs the ABC and the SBC can provide under a multi-channelled national television broadcasting service.

 

At present, paragraph 5A(2)(o) of Schedule 4 of the BSA would allow the ABC and the SBS to broadcast, as part of their multichannel services, international news programs produced by the ABC. The proposed amendment corrects subparagraph 5A(2)(o)(i) to include SBS-produced international news programs in this provision.

 

Item 2 - Repeal of paragraphs 6(8)(ca) and 19(8)(ca) of Schedule 4

 

Paragraphs 6(8)(ca) and 19(8)(ca) of Schedule 4 of the BSA both refer to ‘Category B digital program-enhancement content’. These paragraphs have no substantive operation after the deletion of subclauses 6(15)-(19) and 19(15)-(19) by amendments made in the Senate to the Digital Bill.

 

Item 3 - Amendment to paragraph 27A(1)(d) of Schedule 6



Clause 27A of Schedule 6 of the BSA provides that the ABA may make an exemption order in relation to a transmission of matter by a datacasting licensee where the matter of the content is proposed to be copied from the Internet. Clause 20AA provides that the conditions contained in clauses 14 and 16 of Schedule 6 do not apply in relation a matter is the subject of an exemption order under subclause 27A(1).

 

This proposed amendment omits an incorrect reference to clause 20A in clause 27A and substitutes a reference to clause 20AA of Schedule 6.

 

Item 4 - Amendment to subparagraph 37E(2)(a)(i) and 37F(2)(a)(i) of Schedule 4

 

Item 4 omits an incorrect reference to ‘SDTV mode’ in subparagraphs 37E(2)(a)(i) and 37F(2)(a)(i) of Schedule 4 and substitutes a reference to ‘SDTV digital mode’.

 

Item 5 - Amendment to the heading of Part 6 of Schedule 6

Consequential to the proposed deletion of clause 39 and 40 in Item 6, it is proposed that the heading of the part be changed to ‘Part 6-Control of datacasting transmitter licence’ to reflect the nature of remaining provisions in Part 6 of Schedule 6 of the BSA.

 

Item 6 - Repeal of clauses 39 and 40 of Schedule 6

 

Clauses 39 and 40 of Schedule 4 of the BSA give the ABC and SBS the function of providing datacasting services under a datacasting licence if those Corporations respectively apply for a datacasting licence. Consequential to the insertion of equivalent clauses in the enabling legislation of the ABC and the SBS proposed by Item 3 in Schedule 2 and Item 3 in Schedule 3 of the Bill, this Item repeals clauses 39 and 40 of Schedule 4 of the BSA.

 

Consequential to the proposed amendment in Item 5 to the heading of Part 6 of Schedule 6 of the BSA, the note to Item 6 provides that the heading of Clause 41, the remaining clause in this Part, be replaced with the heading ‘Datacasting transmitter licences not be controlled by the ABC or SBS’.

 

 

Schedule 2 - Proposed amendments to the

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983

 

Item 1 - Insertion of definition of ‘datacasting licence’ in subsection 3(1)

 

This item inserts a definition of ‘datacasting licence’ in subsection 3(1) (the definition clause) of the ABC Act. This term is used in the proposed new section 6A.

 

For the purposes of the ABC Act, it is proposed that the term ‘datacasting licence’ will be have the same meaning as in the BSA. In the BSA, a ‘datacasting licence’ means a licence to provide a datacasting service under Schedule 6 of that Act.

 

Item 2 - Insertion of definition of ‘datacasting service’ in subsection 3(1)

 

This item inserts a definition of ‘datacasting service’ in subsection 3(1) (the definition clause) of the ABC Act. This term is used in the proposed new section 6A. For the purposes of the Act, the term ‘datacasting service’ will be have the same meaning as in the BSA.

 

In the BSA, a ‘datacasting licence’ means a service that delivers content:

§   whether in the form of text; or

§   whether in the form of data; or

§   whether in the form of speech, music or other sounds; or

§   whether in the form of  visual images (animated or otherwise); or

§   whether in any other form; or

§   whether in any combination of forms;

to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that content, where the delivery of the service uses the broadcasting services bands.

 

Item 3 - Insertion of new section 6A

 

Item 3 inserts a new section 6A which provides that where the ABC applies for and receives a datacasting licence then, in addition to the ABC Charter functions contained in section 6 of the ABC Act, the ABC has the function of providing a datacasting service under the licence, and in accordance with the conditions of the licence.  This provision mirrors subclause 39(1) of Schedule 6 of the current BSA.

 

This provision does not require the ABC to provide datacasting services. It provides the ABC with the ability to choose how to best use its transmission capacity by enabling it, for example, to use all the available digital transmission capacity to provide multi-channelled national television broadcasting services rather than datacasting services, if it so chooses.

 

The ABC would have the power under section 25 of the ABC Act to apply for a datacasting licence. The ABC would be able to apply its money in relation to the datacasting function under section 68 of the ABC Act.

 

Where, as a consequence of new section 6A, it becomes a function of the ABC to provide a datacasting service, any business or other activity related to the performance of the datacasting function will be an ‘authorised business’ for the purposes of subsection 25A(2).

 

When performing the datacasting function, the ABC will be subject to the datacasting regime Schedule 6 of the BSA in the same way as other datacasters.

 

 

 

Schedule 3 - Proposed amendments to the

Special Broadcasting Act 1991

 

Item 1 - Insertion of definition of ‘datacasting licence’ in subsection 3(1)

 

This item inserts a definition of ‘datacasting licence’ in subsection 3(1) (the definition clause) of the SBS Act. This term is used in the proposed new section 6A.

 

For the purposes of the SBS Act, it is proposed that the term ‘datacasting licence’ will be have the same meaning as in the BSA. In the BSA, a ‘datacasting licence’ means a licence to provide a datacasting service under Schedule 6 of that Act.

 

Item 2 - Insertion of definition of ‘datacasting service’ in subsection 3(1)

 

This item inserts a definition of ‘datacasting service’ in subsection 3(1) (the definition clause) of the SBS Act. This term is used in the proposed new section 6A. For the purposes of the Act, the term ‘datacasting service’ will be have the same meaning as in the BSA.

 

In the BSA, a ‘datacasting licence’ means a service that delivers content:

§   whether in the form of text; or

§   whether in the form of data; or

§   whether in the form of speech, music or other sounds; or

§   whether in the form of  visual images (animated or otherwise); or

§   whether in any other form; or

§   whether in any combination of forms;

to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that content, where the delivery of the service uses the broadcasting services bands.

 

Item 3 - Insertion of new section 6A

 

Item 3 inserts a new section 6A which provides that where the SBS applies for and receives a datacasting licence then, in addition to the SBS Charter functions contained in section 6 of the SBS Act, the SBS has the function of providing a datacasting service under the licence, and in accordance with the conditions of the licence.  This provision mirrors subclause 40(1) of Schedule 6 of the current BSA.

 

This provision does not require the SBS to provide datacasting services. It provides the SBS with the ability to choose how to best use its transmission capacity by enabling it, for example, to use all the available digital transmission capacity to provide multi-channelled national television broadcasting services rather than datacasting services, if it so chooses.

 

The  SBS would have the power under section 44 of the SBS Act to apply for a datacasting licence. The SBS would be able to apply its money in relation to the datacasting function under section 58.

 

Where, as a consequence of new section 6A, it becomes a function of the SBS to provide a datacasting service, any business or other activity related to the performance of the datacasting function will be an ‘authorised business’ for the purposes of subsection 52(2).

 

When performing the datacasting function, the SBS will be subject to the datacasting regime in Schedule 6 of the BSA in the same way as other datacasters.