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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
Australian Communications and Media Authority

Australian Communications and Media Authority


CHAIR: I welcome witnesses from the Australian Communications and Media Authority. I thank you for being here.

Senator URQUHART: Ms O'Loughlin, I refer to the ACMA's response to the committee's question on notice No. 108, regarding the ACMA's role in relation to misinformation. In response, the ACMA states that:

in general, it would be useful to obtain information that would enable ACMA to assess compliance with platform commitments, for example complaints handling data.

It does like an entirely useful thing for the regulator to be able to do. Currently, the regulator is not able to get basic information like complaints-handling data and statistics to assess the performance of digital platforms in relation to information; that's correct, isn't it?

Ms O'Loughlin : In our answer to that particular question on notice I think we were alluding to some things that came into effect after the code itself was developed, around complaints-handling and how complaints would be handled both by digital platforms and by DIGI if they were dealing with escalated complaints around the code. I think what we were saying, in that space around complaints-handling, was that it would be very handy if we were able to gather additional information from the platforms. I'll just ask my colleague if I got that right.

Ms Rainsford : Yes, the chair did get that right.

Senator URQUHART: Well done, Ms O'Loughlin! In its response on notice, the ACMA states:

ACMA does not currently have the powers to compel information from digital platforms about their approach or actions in relation to misinformation.

I want to test this out a little bit, if I can. According to section 10 of the ACMA act, it's a function of the ACMA:

to inform itself and advise the Minister on technological advances and service trends in the broadcasting industry, internet industry and datacasting industry

…   …   …

to report to, and advise, the Minister in relation to the broadcasting industry, internet industry and datacasting industry;


to do anything incidental to or conducive to the performance of any of the above functions.

Is that correct?

Ms O'Loughlin : I don't have the act with me, but I believe that would be absolutely correct.

Senator URQUHART: Isn't that enough to empower the ACMA in relation to misinformation?

Ms O'Loughlin : If you look at some of our other legislative responsibilities, we have specific powers to compel information from, say, the telecommunication companies. What we have said in our answer to the QON is that we don't have similar powers to compel information from platforms on misinformation and disinformation. That's the distinction we make. Those provisions are very broad in the ACMA act, but we don't currently have powers that mean we can compel the production of information. That said, the digital platforms under the code have given us reports about compliance. They are very early reports, and I think it's a work in progress for the platforms to be able to give us the information we need. Because of that, it's done on a voluntary basis, and we're working with the platforms to improve that information.

Senator URQUHART: According to part 13 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the ACMA has wide discretion to obtain information, conduct investigations and require production of documents for inspection. So, again, isn't that enough for the ACMA to obtain information from digital platforms about their approach to compliance on misinformation or complaints handling on information?

Ms O'Loughlin : The current provisions under the Broadcasting Services Act don't extend to digital platforms.

Senator URQUHART: Okay. And the minister is almost out of time to empower the ACMA in the 46th Parliament, given that we have very few sitting days left. Are you aware of any other regulators in other jurisdictions who are empowered in relation to online misinformation?

Ms O'Loughli n : I might have a stab at it, but then I will ask my colleague to step in. As our colleagues from the department mentioned earlier this morning, misinformation and disinformation in the context of what we're dealing with in this code has been something that has been the subject of extensive discussion and work internationally. Where we started with the disinformation and misinformation code built on the European Union code, and we made improvements, we believe, to that code. So it is a live issue internationally. And I think it's fair to say that different jurisdictions are taking different approaches in terms of voluntary arrangements or legislative arrangements. As the government's response to the digital platforms inquiry indicated, we are pursuing a self-regulatory code with the digital platforms. They released that code in February last year. We gave them a position paper in June the year before to guide the development of the code. We think it's come a very long way, and we support the code, but it really needs to bed itself in and see if it delivers for users of those platforms over the coming years.

Senator URQUHART: I wanted to ask about the nature of the powers of other jurisdictions. You said that in some areas it's legislative and in other areas it's voluntary. Are you able to give me a breakdown on that?

Ms O'Loughlin : I would probably need to take that on notice, Senator. But, again, it is a live discussion. There is a lot of work being done in the United Kingdom at the moment on a broader online safety bill. Of course, we already have the new Online Safety Act. But the UK is looking at what framework is best to sit around platforms for things like safety and misinformation. The European Union, as I mentioned, have their voluntary code in place, and that's being updated and revised. We are also aware of the Canadian broadcasting regulator and, indeed, the Canadian government, who is looking at legislative approaches around digital platforms, mainly in the area of things like local content. I will ask Cathy if she has anything to add.

Ms Rainsford : No. I'm afraid I don't have any more specific details, but we're happy to take that on notice.

Senator URQUHART: Yes. That would be great.

Ms Rainsford : We have very strong relationships with a number of regulators looking at this space, and we will be able to get some information.

Ms O'Loughlin : In that regard it's been quite interesting, as none of us have been able to travel for a very long time, and the relationships with those regulators have been exceptionally strong in coordinating our approaches where we have like-minded regulators, such as the Irish, the UK, the Canadians and the Europeans, working together on these issues to see what works best and how we develop our frameworks and are able to advise our governments on the best approach.

Senator URQUHART: Yes. I guess it's an issue that doesn't just happen here.

Ms O'Loughlin : That's right.

Senator URQUHART: Minister, can you tell me how the Morrison government can be taken seriously on online safety or misinformation given that it hasn't bothered to empower the media regulator to hold digital platforms accountable for that misinformation?

Senator Hume: I think ministers of the government have been very clear on misinformation, and I think there should be no problem taking them seriously.

Senator URQUHART: But you haven't empowered the regulator to actually be able to do anything.

Senator Hume: If the regulator feels that there are additional powers they need, that is something that I am sure the government—

Senator URQUHART: So it is up to the regulator to come to you, rather than you—

Senator Hume: That's how regulators tend to work; they tend to come to government to tell us where their powers are inadequate.

Senator URQUHART: Thank you. Ms O'Loughlin, in September 2021 the ACMA made the antiterrorism standards for television narrowcasting services. Can you tell me what prompted the making of that instrument?

Ms O'Loughlin : I believe that it was a sunsetting instrument. It had been in place for 10 years and, under the sunsetting program of government, it's incumbent on regulators to look at standards and other legislative provisions that are in place and make an assessment about whether or not that legislation is still required or whether it should sunset and fall away. We consulted on it and we considered that it still had a role to play in the regulatory framework, and therefore we remade the standard.

Senator URQUHART: What prompted the consolidation of the two 2011 instruments into the one instrument?

Ms O'Loughlin : I might defer to my colleague.

Ms Rainsford : My recollection, Senator, is that it was primarily driven by a combination of updated drafting practice—I think that applied to both open narrowcasters and subscription narrowcasters—and the merits of having all of the regulation for the narrowcasting industry around antiterrorism in one place.

Senator URQUHART: The ACMA annual report states:

Sunsetting review of the Anti-terrorism Standards

In November 2020, ACMA staff led a roundtable with relevant government agencies to discuss the continuing relevance and effectiveness of the Broadcasting Services (Anti-terrorism Requirements for Open Narrowcasting Television Services) Standard 2011 for narrowcast television.

According to the annual report:

The discussion provided some valuable insights into the current national security and counterterrorism environment and raised issues for consideration before public consultation on the instruments.

So can you me what the view is on the continuing relevance and effectiveness of the antiterrorism standard?

Ms Rainsford : I hosted that particular roundtable, Senator. There was a range of discussion whereby the attendees at it—government representatives from a range of different agencies—expressed a view at that time around the merits of continuing to have this type of regulation, particularly in an environment where the narrowcasting sector is less known to us than other types of broadcasters by virtue of the licensing arrangements. So narrowcasters, unlike, for example, the commercial broadcasters—we don't have a direct licensing arrangement; they have a class licence under which they operate. So, if you like, we don't have a list of who's operating in that field at any given time. That helped us to think through some of the issues that informed the public consultation that we did. Those agencies didn't change their views as a result of that. My recollection is that we didn't get any views in through the public consultation which suggested we should let the instrument lapse, and ultimately the authority decided to remake it.

Senator URQUHART: Does the ACMA have up-to-date statistics on the number of satellite receivers in Australia or other consumption data?

Ms O'Loughlin : No, Senator. Satellite receivers for television services?

Senator URQUHART: Yes.

Ms O'Loughlin : No, Senator.

Senator URQUHART: How many complaints has the ACMA received under the standards in the last 12 months?

Ms Rainsford : Under the antiterrorism standards, I'm not aware that we have received any. I think our colleague Rochelle Zurnamer is on videoconference. If she's there, I will check with her.

Senator URQUHART: It doesn't look like she's there.

Ms Rainsford : I'm reasonably confident that we haven't, but I'm happy to take that on notice for you, Senator. Senator URQUHART: Okay. Has the ACMA undertaken any proactive monitoring or investigations under the antiterrorism standards?

Ms O'Loughlin : No.

Senator URQ UHART: In December 2021, Hezbollah was listed as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code. Has this prompted any action from the ACMA?

Ms Rainsford : I think no specific action, although some of the changes we made to the standard when it was remade were intended to pick up related changes that had been made under Commonwealth legislation.

Senator URQUHART: So what, if anything, does the listing of Hezbollah mean for Al-Manar television received in Australia?

Ms Rainsford : I'll approach it this way. We understand that that is a narrowcaster that operates in Australia. It is subject to a range of broadcasting and, indeed, other related legislation, including this particular standard. The way we largely work with the standards is: if we became aware of content—primarily through complaints—that indicated that they might not be complying with the standard, then we would look to investigate that matter.

Senator URQUHART: But you would have to wait for a complaint? Do you have any monitoring work planned in this area?

Ms O'Loughlin : No. We predominantly work on complaints—although I'd have to say that we also monitor the environment around broadcasting fairly consistently, through media reports or intelligence that comes to us. So it's not necessarily just prompted by a complaint, but if there were issues raised around Al-Manar then of course we would look at them under the newly-made and revised standards.

Ms Rainsford : If I can just add to that, we also have very good relationships with a range of law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the Commonwealth, in a way such that, if they became aware of problematic content being broadcast on any platform in Australia, I'm confident they would bring that to our attention.

Senator URQUHART: So it doesn't necessarily have to be a complaint as such; they can bring that to your attention?

Ms Rainsford : Yes.

Ms O'Loughlin : It doesn't have to be a viewer complaint; it could be a complaint expressed or intelligence from various agencies or from our own reconnaissance.

Senator URQUHART: And that would trigger an investigation from your point of view?

Ms O'Loughlin : Yes.

Senator URQUHART: I've just got some questions around self-help retransmission. The ACMA policy on retransmission of broadcasting services is dated August 2021. For the benefit of the committee, can you explain what this policy is for and why it was updated in August 2021?

Ms O'Loughlin : I will pass, I think, to my colleague Linda Caruso—

Senator URQUHART: Sorry—and maybe you could add what, if any, changes or updates were actually made in 2021.

Ms O'Loughlin : We did make a number of updates. The retransmission policy generally is around getting services to communities who may not be able to get services from their existing broadcasters who are too far away and we can't get a signal in. So the retransmission policy is designed to allow operators to retransmit somebody else's signal or their own signal into different communities—for example, around mining settlements. But I will ask Ms Caruso to address that and also changes we made in 2021.

Ms Caruso : There is a number of our broadcasting planning documents that we have been in the process of updating, so the retransmission policy was one of those broadcast planning documents that we looked at. For a range of reasons, some of those documents had not been changed or updated since pre digital television days and so some of what we were doing was covering both on the TV and the radio side. There were, I'll say, some old TV planning references that were no longer valid, so we updated the documents for that. On the radio side, we had also undertaken a body of work with the industry around the future delivery of radio and we were reflecting our planning priorities in that future delivery of radio also in the retransmission policy. I can take it on notice to provide more details about the exact changes.

Senator URQUHART: That would be really good, yes.

Ms Caruso : I know we did highlight that on our website; I just haven't got that detail here today. It was largely a recognition that it was at a point in time. Some of the technology delivery had changed. The policy environment and our planning priorities had also changed. So it was one of a number of broadcasting planning documents that we have done some housekeeping on.

Senator URQUHART: Okay, thank you. If you could provide some extra details on notice, that would be great. Can you tell me how the government's response to the green paper and the new broadcast working group factor in ACMA work on retransmission?

Ms O'Loughlin : Not specifically on retransmission. As you're aware, the media reform paper indicates a couple of tasks for the ACMA. One of those is some research activities around television channel planning and technical capabilities for the future. The other is more around some of the content functions. I think the link to retransmission will be in that channel planning process. Although most of our retransmission is actually about radio rather than television, what we will need to look at in the research is what the future broadcasting channel planning looks like; ensuring that, where television reaches today, it will reach tomorrow; and whether or not there need to be different infill arrangements or different types of arrangements put in place. I will pass again to Ms Caruso, who might be able to add more, but it's probably a broader issue for TV about making sure that nobody's losing a service in the transition, rather than specifically about retransmission.

Ms Caruso : What I would say is that, under the green paper and what's discussed in terms of working group arrangements and bodies of work, there are a number of elements where the ACMA will be involved in different technical studies. Ms O'Loughlin has mentioned channel planning; there are a number of other elements of that work. I think where retransmission fits in is that there are a range of different terrestrial delivery models out there, and there is satellite delivery for TV as well.

Part of the work in thinking through different delivery scenarios for TV is that we will need to understand exactly the topology of all those different networks, and it is different for the metro and the regional broadcasters. They're using different transmission equipment in the network. We need to understand the impact of that in changing any of the planning arrangements, and retransmission is just one element of understanding that network topology and understanding how services are delivered. It's a complex environment, but there is a body of work that we need to undertake with industry just to be able to understand the impacts of those different planning scenarios on how TV is delivered today, and how it could be delivered in the future.

Senator URQUHART: So it's broader than the retransmission. According to the most recent ACMA annual report, you issued 76 broadcasting retransmission licences in 2020-21. Is this list publicly available?

Ms Caruso : My understanding is that that is licensing information; it is all publicly available.

Senator URQUHART: Would you be able to provide it on notice?

Ms Caruso : Sure.

Senator URQUHART: That would be great. How does the decision by RBAH, which came to prominence in 2020, to no longer maintain ABC and SBS services impact the ACMA's work on retransmission?

Ms Caruso : I think the broader issue underlying that is how ABC and SBS services are delivered in their contractual arrangements with RBAH. I'd suggest that retransmission, which we've been talking about earlier, is actually in a different bundle of issues.

Senator URQUHART: Yes. I refer to the loss of ABC service in Goulburn and the loss of SBS service in Bermagui.

Ms O'Loughlin : I think that was a commercial matter between RBAH, the ABC and SBS.

Se nator URQUHART: Is the ACMA aware of any other areas that may lose ABC or SBS reception?

Ms O'Loughlin : I don't believe we're aware of anything or been made aware of anything. That might be a matter for the ABC and SBS.

Senator URQUHART: Is the ACMA aware of any other areas that may lose any other service? Are any other licensees planning on stopping service maintenance?

Ms O'Loughlin : I don't believe we have any intelligence on that. I think—

Ms Caruso : I'd respond in general terms by saying that licensees, within their licence areas, often make decisions about which areas they're going to serve. Within the life of a licence, that's often varied for different licensees. That is a process where they would advise us if they're seeking to change a service. We're not aware, at the moment, of any service withdrawals.

Ms O'Loughlin : For example, that may reflect population movements within a licence area, which, in some areas of Australia, can be quite large.

Senator URQUHART: Absolutely, yes. I have some questions around carrier licence fees. I want to touch on them and the telecommunications industry levy for a moment. Can you provide a high-level description of how the levy actually works, who it captures and what role the ACMA plays?

Ms O'Loughlin : I'll start. The carrier licence charge is applied to carriers and CSPs across the country. It has been in place for a considerable number of years. It funds what's called the telecommunications industry levy, and that levy funds the USO and the payphone USO. My colleague Matt will tell me if I get any of this wrong or if he has anything else to add.

Mr Geysen : That's correct.

Ms O'Loughlin : And we collect the levy.

Senator URQUHART: Yes. For my benefit, can you provide some detail about what a carrier technically is and isn't, and can you provide some examples of what line of revenue a business generates in the telecommunications space that does not require them to hold a carrier licence?

Ms O'Loughlin : I would prefer to take that on notice. I don't have the full detail here. It is quite a complex legal and technical issue, so I would prefer to take it on notice, if we may, please.

Senator URQUHART: Okay. My understanding is that the eligible revenue consists of the following: the initial sales revenue of the parent telecommunications less non-communications sales revenue plus other telecommunications sales revenue less the revenue earned whilst not being the holder of a carrier licence equals the gross telecommunications sales revenue less any deductions. This gives you an estimate of eligible revenue. Is that broadly correct?

Ms O'Loughlin : You have more technical detail in front of you than I have at the moment. That sounds technically correct.

Senator URQUHART: Can you talk me through this scenario? Let's say I run a private company generating sales revenue in the telecommunications sector, but I don't need a carrier licence to operate. One day I want to expand the products and services that I provide, but the new segment requires me to obtain a carrier licence. If I obtain that carrier licence but my new business offering is not generating much revenue or is not fully developed yet, does that still activate the levy on my existing telecommunications revenue streams which did not require a carrier licence?

Ms O'Loughlin : While you're putting this to me as a theoretical issue, there is a live issue on this matter that will be before the court, so I would prefer not to comment any further.

Senator URQUHART: I guess the issue is: what sort of deterrence or disincentive did that provide for new entrants?

Ms O'Loughlin : Again, I would prefer not to comment any further. And, in terms of changes to the carrier licence charge, that would be a matter for government.

Senator URQUHART: Earlier today we had a discussion with the department about neutral-host mobile providers and the different models that can be employed. Some of these models require integrated offerings of physical components, which, presumably, require a carrier licence. Could these oddities of the telecommunications industry levy's eligible revenue assessment mechanism distort opportunities in this market?

Ms O'Loughlin : Again, I would prefer not to comment.

Senator URQUHART: Does the minister have any power to deal with such issues or strange circumstances as they arise?

Ms O'Loughlin : As I said, any changes to the make-up of the carrier licence charge would be a matter for the government.

Senator URQUHART: So the minister does have the power?

Ms O'Loughlin : Yes.

Senator URQUHART: Thank you. I've got some questions about low earth orbit satellites and collision risks. For your info, Chair, and for the update of Ms O'Loughlin, I've probably got around about 10 more questions on a couple of topics, if that assists.

CHAIR: That does assist. And does Senator Pratt have questions?

Sen ator URQUHART: No, that will be it for us on this section.

CHAIR: Okay.

Senator URQUHART: Low earth orbit satellites have been a great innovation in terms of the choice in capability that they're opening up for underserved consumers. I want to better understand what role the ACMA plays in the monitoring and proliferation of such low earth orbit satellites. Can you talk me through what role the ACMA plays?

Ms O'Loughlin : I will defer to my colleagues. We do have a role in engaging with the low earth orbit satellite community in terms of their operations in Australia. We are aware that, particularly in the United States much more than here, a lot of these LEO companies are actually global companies, so some of the testing of the regulatory frameworks is being developed in other jurisdictions, such as the US, which we observe to see how it relates to the Australian environment. There is some concern there that, for LEOs, which, of course, are not subject to the quite extensive planning requirements under the International Telecommunication Union that high earth orbit satellites are subjected to, there's a proliferation, which, while benefiting consumers, may result in things like collisions or space junk et cetera. It is a very live debate, but I will defer to Linda if she's got other things to add.

Ms Caruso : The ACMA does have a regulatory role in relation to the licensing of earth stations in Australia for when people seek to access the spectrum for earth stations. We've also got a regulatory role in relation to foreign companies who, again, seek licensing arrangements. Sometimes they're seeking licences in other countries but also seeking to operate in Australia. There's a Foreign Space Objects Determination that essentially gives recognition to these foreign companies in terms of operations in Australia. I would say that—

Senator URQUHART: Sorry—are the foreign companies operating earth stations?

Ms Caruso : They can be operating LEO systems. We've got a role in terms of spectrum access. If companies want to use spectrum, that is provided to support satellite services, generally. There are different spectrum bands for satellites. We have essentially an authorisation role in relation to these foreign companies seeking to operate in Australia. There is an international overlay here with the International Telecommunication Union that coordinates arrangements between jurisdictions. So that is the other overlay, that Australia works within those International Telecommunication Union arrangements.

The coordination arrangements are designed to ensure that you don't end up with collisions, so that there's enough separation between the different satellite systems so that you're not going to end up in collisions. There are other regulatory arrangements in Australia that are administered by the Australian Space Agency that deal with launches and returns of satellites to Australia. That's another important part of the regulatory arrangements just for satellite operations in Australia. Again, we're very concerned about space junk and managing launches and returns, but that's the Australian Space Agency's role, and we work closely with them.

Senator URQUHART: On 9 February 2022, the New York Times published a piece which noted:

Over the past three years, SpaceX has deployed thousands of satellites into low-Earth orbit as part of its business to beam high-speed internet service from space. But the company's latest deployment of 49 new satellites after a Feb. 3 launch did not go as planned.

As a consequence of a geomagnetic storm triggered by a recent outburst of the sun, up to 40 of 49 newly launched Starlink satellites have been knocked out of commission. They are in the process of re-entering Earth's atmosphere, where they will be incinerated.

The incident highlights the hazards faced by numerous companies planning to put tens of thousands of small satellites in orbit to provide internet service from space. And it's possible that more solar outbursts will knock some of these newly deployed orbital transmitters out of the sky.

Is that sort of commentary dramatising the situation? In such a scenario, do the remaining low-orbit satellites simply continue to provide service?

Ms Caruso : My understanding is that the remaining satellites are providing SpaceX services, including services to Australia. SpaceX is authorised out of the US, so the issue of how that is managed is actually the responsibility of the US administration. In terms of SpaceX's services in Australia, there would potentially be a flow-on to customers in Australia if there are service disruptions, because these things are managed globally. General commentary around that would be that I think the issue of satellite innovation generally, and the innovation in LEOs in particular and the activity of a lot of companies, causes a lot of work across the globe. Regulators are very much concerned about how to support this activity, making sure that there is sufficient space, literally, in space and for services to operate effectively. But it is a global issue, and Australia is a part of those discussions that are going on with other regulators.

Senator URQUHART: A separate report noted:

A plan from Elon Musk's company SpaceX to dramatically increase the number of satellites in orbit has raised alarm among officials at NASA.

SpaceX proposed an additional 30,000 satellites orbiting the Earth, a number which NASA believes would greatly increase the risk of collisions.

Thirty-thousand satellites in orbit around the entire Earth may not seem like that many, but collisions can, and already have happened.

Each collision has the potential to make the problem exponentially worse, professor at ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics Celine d'Orgeville said.

"Instead of having two big objects you could track, you create a large cloud of smaller debris which are much harder to track," Professor d'Orgeville said.

"If this happens again and again, you could develop Kessler syndrome, which is when there are so many collisions that there's a snowball effect and you can't stop the chain reaction any more."

What type of steps do regulators and satellite companies take to mitigate the probability of such events, and is there any responsibility for the ACMA?

Ms Caruso : As I said, there are elements of the regulatory framework that the ACMA administers, and there are other agencies involved in other aspects of the regulatory framework. That includes, I would say, at the international level also in the coordination across all countries through the ITU.

Senator URQUHART: Is Kessler syndrome the primary type of low-probability event or occurrence that could pose systematic challenge for the availability of low-orbit satellite services?

Ms Caruso : I don't want to comment on that article or the conclusions being reached in that article. I would say, though, that enabling LEOs, how a number of different companies can be supported in that environment, how there is room in space for a range of other uses as highlighted by the NASA comments—all of those are kinds of issues that we are concerned with and other regulators around the world are concerned with.

Senator URQUHART: I have a few questions on the impact of Australian and children's content quota changes. It's now been nearly two years since changes were made to the Australian content quotas for commercial television. What has been the impact of the changes on industry and consumers from the ACMA's perspective?

Ms O'Loughlin : Senator, as you will recall, the ACMA in 2020 exercised forbearance for commercial television broadcasters, given that, at that time, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was huge disruption to the production sector and also to the broadcasters. So we exercised forbearance for that time, and then changes were made by the government to the legislative framework in terms of what quota obligations applied to the sectors. I might ask my colleague Ms Rainsford to talk about some of the detail, and then perhaps we can talk about what has happened since then.

Ms Rainsford : Certainly. If it would help, I have some of the compliance outcomes during that period where we exercised forbearance. In the 2020 results, all commercial broadcasters met their transmission quota requirements.

Ms O'Loughlin : That's their 55 per cent of Australian content.

Ms Rainsford : Yes. And some but not all of them met their required subquotas. For example, the Seven Network and its affiliates met the first release Australian drama subquota, the Nine Network and Network 10 and their affiliates met the first release Australian children's drama subquota and the all children's program subquota. Nine and its affiliates met the all Australian preschool programs subquota. Network 10 and its affiliates met the triennial subquota for first release children's drama for the 2018-2020 triennium. Finally, I can report that no network met their first release Australian children's programs subquota. Of course, following that, in late 2020, the government announced changes to that standard, and we made a revised Australian and children's program standard, which commenced on 1 January 2021. The first lot of annual reports against that standard are due to be provided to us in March of this year, which will give us some data about how broadcasters have gone about meeting the requirements of that standard and how they may have used the flexibility that it provided.

Senator URQUHART: Ms Rainsford, you were reading from a document there. Are you able to table that information?

Ms O'Loughlin : I'm sure we can find a way to do that, Senator.

Senator URQUHART: Thank you very much. What plans does the ACMA have to review the impact of the changes?

Ms O'Loughlin : As Ms Rainsford said, the new Broadcasting Services (Australian Content and Children's Television) Standards 2020 came into effect on 1 January. We will receive reporting from that at the end of March and we will make that reporting public.

Senator URQUHART: So you'll report at the end of March.

Ms O'Loughlin : No. We receive the information at the end of March. It will take us a little while to analyse the data and seek additional information, and we will make that information public. I think it's fair to say that we don't have a monitoring role. We do have a collection of information and reporting role, and the other reporting roles that we have, including the new voluntary reporting requirements for SVODs, making all that information available so that it would be able to inform any future government policy in the area.

Senator URQUHART: That's great. Just so I have this right in my head, at the end of March you will have had information about what the changes are. Then the step from there is—I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that.

Ms O'Loughlin : We would make that information public.

Senator URQUHART: So it would be made public?

Ms O'Loughlin : Yes.

Senator URQUHART: Fantastic. That was going to be in my next question; you have got there. That's all we have for the ACMA.

CHAIR: Thanks a lot. We are going to have an early dinner break because the next witnesses aren't here. We will break for dinner now and come back in an hour. Thanks to ACMA and to Minister Hume. We will now suspend.

Proceedings suspended from 17:49 to 18:48