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Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Bill 2007

CHAIR —I welcome representatives from the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. I remind members of the committee that the Senate has resolved that departmental officers shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only asking questions for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude asking questions relating to explanations of policies or factual questions about how and when policies were developed. Do you wish to make an opening statement?

Dr Badger —No.

CHAIR —That is usual practice.

Senator WORTLEY —This bill is a redraft of the exposure draft of the content services bill, isn’t it?

Dr Pelling —Yes. It is a different—

Senator WORTLEY —It is a redraft.

Dr Pelling —It has gone through several iterations.

Senator WORTLEY —Why did the exposure draft have to be redrafted?

Dr Pelling —The government took a decision to release the original draft to a limited number of industry players and, as a result of comments made by those players, the minister reconsidered the policy issues and took a decision to change aspects of the scheme.

Senator WORTLEY —So the views of a limited number of industry players were taken into consideration?

Dr Pelling —In that first cycle of consultation, there were a limited number of players. But since then a range of other people have been consulted.

Senator WORTLEY —So this was for the exposure draft?

Dr Pelling —It was not a formal exposure draft as such, but the government agreed to release a copy of the early version of the legislation to a number of industry players. It was not made more generally available.

Senator WORTLEY —Perhaps it would make it clearer if you could tell us how the government went about rectifying flaws in the exposure draft bill.

Dr Pelling —As a result of the inputs provided by industry in that process, essentially the government reviewed aspects of the policy. As a result of that, we had to issue revised instructions to the legislative drafters and we drafted the bill in the preliminary version of what it currently is at the moment.

Senator WORTLEY —Can you explain the consultation process that ECITA went through prior to the drafting and then also prior to the redrafting of the bill—so the first lot of consultation and then prior to the drafting and then prior to the redrafting?

Dr Pelling —The bill builds on a review of content over convergent devices which the minister published early last year, I think, from memory. That review took place over a number of months preceding its release. The public were invited to put in submissions to that review, so there was an extensive process of consultation on the nature of the review. That review was then considered by government, resulting in the policy decisions that were made by the government. I do not recall that there were formal consultation processes in the sense that a paper was released or anything like that—the review was that process. Once the government had made its decision, it was implemented, as it normally is, through drafting, which is done through the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. That bill was then provided to a range of industry players. They provided comments on the bill. The bill was redrafted, and there has been an iterative process of consultation with industry throughout that consideration.

Senator WORTLEY —You did say a limited number of industry?

Dr Badger —The important part in that context is that in the initial stages there was an exposure to a limited number of players. Once there was feedback from those players, modifications were made, and there was then a much more extensive consultation process with a range of others.

Senator WORTLEY —Can we just get clarification? What was the consultation prior to the initial exposure draft? I know you spoke about the review taking place, but what consultation took place immediately before the initial exposure draft?

Dr Pelling —I imagine that there would have been informal discussions from time to time that the department might have had with industry in that process.

Senator WORTLEY —You imagine that there would have been?

Dr Badger —I think we will have to get the details of who did what, because I was not there and a range of other people were not there. Essentially, we had the review process, which was a convergent devices review which got a large amount of input from industry about how the issues had to be dealt with. The response to that process was taken into account in drawing up the decisions related to the drafting of a bill. That bill was then subject to discussion with a range of groups, there was feedback given on the bill as the concept was then, and then there was a much more extensive range of discussions after the event.

Senator WEBBER —Forgive me, but this is a pretty nefarious concept. You say things like ‘a limited range’ and ‘ much wider’. I am not getting a sense of who was involved. Can you take on notice exactly who they were? And can you tell me whether there was any consultation with anyone outside those that will transmit content.

Dr Badger —What do you mean—content providers, publishers?

Senator WEBBER —Yes.

Dr Pelling —Yes. There were a number of discussions with publishing groups.

Senator WEBBER —This is a new and emerging field. So people that create content—who did you consult with there?

Mr Cordina —The consultation on the exposure draft focused on key industry organisations. That involved consulting with a range of industry representatives and also content producers directly, including content developers and suppliers, mobile phone companies, broadcasters, major internet portal operators and publishers.

Senator WEBBER —Internet portal operators and mobile phone companies are going to be doing the transmission; they are not necessarily going to be doing the creating. We seem to have a sector that does not feel that it was really considered too much.

Dr Badger —What we should do is give you a list of the people involved in the content development industry, the content supply industry, publishing et cetera who were—

Senator WEBBER —That would be good. I accept that there was a review—the minister announced a review—

Dr Badger —No, you are talking about the processes involved—

Senator WEBBER —but about the development of the legislation specifically.

Dr Badger —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —Did you consult industries such as game providers or health service providers, or companies such as PBL?

Mr Cordina —We did consult with some large corporations for which part of the content they produce involves games.

Dr Badger —I think we had better get before you the detail of the range of particular providers who were consulted.

Senator WORTLEY —Could you provide us with that list this afternoon?

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —The bill is meant to be consistent with content regulation applied to offline services in Australia, isn’t it?

Dr Pelling —Broadly speaking, yes.

Senator WORTLEY —Can you explain why it is that under the principles for classification decisions in the National Classification Code it states that adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want, yet under the bill adult access to certain content is restricted.

Dr Pelling —The only answer we can really give to that is that the government took a decision about the scope of the bill, which is what it encompasses. That reflected particular considerations that they had. I think it is also important to distinguish between the operation of the classification scheme and the operation of the bill. The bill basically is about regulating availability of content through take-down notices. It uses the classification scheme with regard to determining what is prohibited and what is not prohibited content. Other than that, it makes no judgement about the scope of the classification scheme. It simply uses the scheme as an existing, independent—if that is the right word—measure for determining what is prohibited and what is not prohibited content.

Senator WORTLEY —Is there an opt-out option for adults under this regime?

Dr Pelling —I am not sure what you mean by an opt-out option for adults. The scheme regulates content with regard to certain types of content services and it applies to all Australians.

Senator WORTLEY —Are adults and children subject to the same level of regulation?

Dr Pelling —The regulation uses the classification scheme and basically says that X-rated material is prohibited, and R-rated material and in some cases MA15+ rated material must be subject to a restricted access system, which is fundamentally about making them available only to adults.

Mr Cordina —So in that respect adults have access to a broader range of material under this. They can have access to MA15+ if it is supplied commercially and also to R18+, whereas children would not have access to that.

Senator WORTLEY —Does it mean that the bill is inconsistent with the regulation applied to offline services in Australia, such as those set out in the National Classification Code?

Dr Pelling —What we have tried to do as far as possible is ensure that, where material is classified in the offline space, a similar regulatory treatment is applied. For example, in relation to books and published material, the bill effectively ensures that published material which you can buy freely in a bookshop in an unrestricted form will be able to be made available in an online version without restriction. Having said that, the scheme basically is consistent both with the schedule 5 existing internet content regulatory scheme with regard to broadly the way it operates and the way in which it regulates that content. It is also broadly consistent with the premium services determination under which the mobile phone industry operates. So in that sense it is consistent with existing practices.

Senator WEBBER —You will have to forgive me. I am easily confused when it comes to these issues, but particularly right at the end of two weeks of estimates. I am probably going to ask you what would seem to be straightforward questions but I just cannot get my head around them. Some of them are around definitional issues within the bill. I will add to that that I have not been here for the entire hearing this morning. Turning to content services first, the bill, as I understand it, provides an extensive list of exempted services. Can I just go through what that actually means to a lay person like me? For example, are the ABC and SBS—those kinds of people—exempt?

Dr Pelling —Broadcasting services are regulated by their own separate system under the Broadcasting Services Act and, in the case of the ABC and SBS, under their own legislation. Therefore they are not regulated by schedule—

Senator WEBBER —So all the commercial networks like network 10 are all exempt?

Dr Pelling —That is right. When they are providing services then they are regulated by their existing systems.

Senator WEBBER —If they decided to venture into this brave new world, would they be picked up by this bill?

Dr Pelling —Yes, broadly speaking. For example, if they do no more than retransmit their existing service, which is already regulated, the regulation system applying to the broadcasting service will be relevant.

Senator WEBBER —What about accessing newspapers online, like The Age where they have a blog?

Dr Pelling —They will all be under this scheme.

Senator WEBBER —I live in Perth and we have to access them online. Otherwise we can look at them three weeks later or something, which is fantastic really. What about other ways of accessing information, like Google?

Dr Pelling —There is an exemption in the definition of content service which excludes a search engine service. That is defined. In simple terms, the intention is that a search engine would not have to be regulated under the scheme merely by virtue of the fact that it provides you with an automatically generated link to a content that might itself be prohibited content. We have tried to make sure that the people we regulate are the people who provide the content, not the people who would do no more than have the mechanical means of producing a list of URLs that provide you access to sites.

Senator WEBBER —So Google would be exempt but Wikipedia, say, would fall under this—

Dr Pelling —Yes, but Wikipedia, of course, is an overseas—

Senator WEBBER —because they generate their own information.

Dr Pelling —A site equivalent to Wikipedia, which is about providing lots of information on the web, would be subject to the take-down notices under the scheme. A site which did no more than provide a search engine which enables you to access—

Senator WEBBER —So with regard to online banking information—not the teller bit but the actual accessing of financial information—would ANZ OnLine, for instance, be in or out?

Dr Pelling —I think they would broadly be covered by this scheme.

Senator WEBBER —Of course, popular sites like MySpace and YouTube are not in Australia anyway.

Dr Pelling —The critical definition is very broad, and that is the definition of content service, which is a service that delivers content or allows users to access content using a carriage service, so it has that element of electronic access to it as well.

Senator WEBBER —And it has to be Australian based.

Dr Pelling —It has to have what we call an Australian link, which essentially is that it originates in Australia or is hosted in Australia.

Senator WEBBER —When I was here earlier today, AMTA and Microsoft raised some other definitional problems that they had with the bill. Have they come to you? Has there been consultation about that?

Dr Pelling —Yes, there has. I had a phone call with AMTA on their list of issues a few days ago and we have been provided with copies of the submissions that they have made to the committee. We are analysing them.

Senator WEBBER —Has any consideration been given to further refining the bill to address those issues? They seemed to still think that they have got problems with no definition of ‘host’ and the definition, with content service, around ‘delivers’.

Dr Pelling —We are looking closely at those and are seeking the advice of our own legal staff. Once we have worked our way through those, we will prepare advice for the minister.

Senator WEBBER —They have issues with the definition of ‘restricted access’ as well.

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WEBBER —So regarding the list of exemptions, are there more exempt services than services that are caught by the bill?

Dr Pelling —No, the bill covers any content service that delivers content. The list of exempt services relates to a series of quite specific activities like broadcasting services, court proceedings and proceedings of the houses of parliament et cetera.

Senator WEBBER —I am sure it makes riveting television!

Dr Pelling —They would not fall under the regulatory scheme itself but the vast majority of online content, provided it meets the requirements of the bill in terms of links within Australia, would fall under the regulatory scheme.

Senator WORTLEY —Can you clarify whether the content service is an overarching service—for example, a service such as MySpace or Windows Live Spaces—or whether a content service is each and every feature or forum on a service such as MySpace; the forum being a blog, email groups, games and that sort of thing?

Dr Pelling —I think the general answer is, unfortunately, that it depends. I think that where a user provides—

Senator WEBBER —This is not helping a layperson like me, I can tell you.

Dr Pelling —If you considered a service such as YouTube—and, of course, I am not talking in legal terms but speculating about things—there are a number of aspects about that. There is the means by which you access the user generated content, which is a website of some sort, a portal of some sort, and then there would be a range of material which is produced by users. The definition of ‘content service’ is broad enough to cover the range of people that might operate in that space. Because it is somebody who delivers content to persons having equipment appropriate for receiving that service, where the delivery of service is by means of a co-service, or a service that allows end users to access, that would mean, for example, that somebody who operated a webspace that allowed you to access a range of user generated content is potentially captured by this. I think it would also mean—I am sure somebody will correct me if I am misunderstanding this—that if, for example, the content that I produced was on a server somewhere and that server was accessed by the MySpace or YouTube server to be available to the public, that I would be responsible for the user generated content that I provide, because I am delivering or making available content to people using a carriage service. So, potentially, it could regulate a number of people in the chain.

Senator WORTLEY —There was an issue raised this morning regarding links. If someone had on their site a link to another site and then they had videos that were user generated on a blog or whatever, where would the responsibility lie?

Dr Pelling —Just to take another example: where there was, say, a Big Brother website and there was some capacity for you to run an email commentary on that website, whereby you chat to other interested people there, the person who operated the Big Brother website, I think under the scheme, would be responsible for the content that was publicly available and that people might insert on there.

Senator WORTLEY —The issue that was raised this morning was: if a website was from a link from another website and a person had the link on their website, would the organisation be responsible because, when you click on that link, you then—

Dr Pelling —Went somewhere else.

Senator WORTLEY —Yes.

—The scheme regulates three types of services: it regulates those who host content and make it available to public, it regulates those who provide links to content and it regulates those who provide the live stream services. If you identified some content that you thought was prohibited content, you would make a complaint to the regulator. The regulator will consider and, if necessary, classify that content, order a take-down notice and then the service provider must comply with the notice to remove that content or to remove that link to the content. So, in philosophical terms, what is being addressed here is content that is, say, live ephemeral content—like, for example, the ‘dorm cam’. It is content which is stored on a website, hosted on a website and might provide a link to a website. Just to give you an example, if somebody were to run a website with a whole lot of undesirable content and put a blank page on the front with a click through that says ‘click here to go to all the nasty content’, that link is regulated as well as the content underneath.

Senator WEBBER —So, if I run a website with a number of links, I am going to have to monitor them every day to make sure that they are not up to anything untoward.

Dr Pelling —No, I think that is an important key issue in the way the system operates.

Senator WEBBER —It is sounding a bit onerous so far.

Dr Pelling —The system operates through a complaints based process, so there is no requirement on the service provider to monitor. If somebody—the regulator or some member of the public—identified that content was available or a link to content was available and that content was prohibited, then the regulator can take action and tell you about that. Of course, once they have told you about it then you cannot say you do not know, and then your responsibility is to remove that. If you do not remove that, then penalties apply. If you do remove that, that is the end of the matter. It is not up to you to say, ‘I’ve got to watch my website every day to make sure everything anybody says is not prohibited content or that everything anybody might put up on that website is not prohibited content.’ It is only when matters are identified to you by the regulator that the responsibility on you is to take them down, once they know that they are there, or to cease access to a service it is a live service.

Senator WORTLEY —In the definition of ‘content services’ in the bill, there are lots of references to exempt services—for example, an exempt internet directory service. Will the exempt services that are not defined in the bill be spelt out in the regulations for the bill?

Dr Pelling —There is no intention to define services further than is in clause 2 of the bill. The bill has a list under the definition of content service and then a number of those are defined by specific definitions. The only matter that I would add to that really is that paragraph 10 of the definition does allow a service to be specified in the regulations. So there is capacity to add to that list if a new type of service becomes available.

Senator WORTLEY —Do you have the list there?

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —How many services are listed in the regulations?

Dr Pelling —There are 21.

Mr Cordina —Not including a service specified in the regulations, obviously, which can be—

Dr Pelling —So 20 plus the service specified in the regulations.

Mr Cordina —Twenty one plus, I think.

Dr Pelling —Okay.

Senator WORTLEY —So there are 21 services listed as being exempt services?

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —Still on the issue of definitions, many definitions include the concept of a specialist or specialising in an area—that is, the definition of exempt point to point service and exempt internet directory service. What level of specialisation does ACMA require for these definitions?

Dr Pelling —The intention there is to be very specific, but the purpose is to make sure that the exclusions are not used as an avoidance measure for the general rule—in other words, for example, if an exempt point to point service specialises in providing prohibited content. ‘Specialised’ in that concept is a relatively imprecise term, but it would be up to the regulator and ultimately the courts, I suppose, to determine the scope.

Senator WORTLEY —You don’t think that the definition of it needs to be spelt out?

Dr Pelling —If you are going to spell it out further, you then start to get into issues like, say, percentages. That creates a series of problems of its own: if 50 per cent of the content is undesirable or is prohibited, it falls into one category or another—how would you measure that sort of level of content? A term like ‘specialised’ would be given its normal dictionary meaning in the interpretation and would allow a degree of interpretive assessment of the balance of services in a particular category.

Mr Cordina —Clearly, the focus of the content would have to be on prohibited content for it to fall within that meaning.

Senator WORTLEY —I am trying to understand the scope of the bans in the bill. The bill bans prohibited content. Under the bill, would an electronic version of an explicit magazine that has not been classified RC1 or RC2 be considered prohibited content, and would it be accessible online?

Dr Pelling —Material which is not classified RC1 or RC2 is not prohibited, but I think you need to clarify that. It depends ultimately on the way in which the relevant organisation classifies the material, so whether those classification schemes allow explicit material in is a matter for those schemes in a sense. The way the bill operates is to exclude material which has been or could be classified under certain ways; it does not make any commentary about the nature of those classification schemes and what is included in different categories in those classification schemes. Ultimately—and it exists at the moment, obviously—if it were changed that changed service or system would apply.

Senator WORTLEY —Can you give an example of a magazine that is classified RC1 or RC2 or why a magazine has that classification?

Dr Pelling —I do not have the OFLC’s guidelines or Classification Board guidelines in front of me but, essentially, publications which are restricted, as I understand it, would normally include various levels of violence, sexual material, drug taking or perhaps other things like suicidal or race-hate type material. I cannot remember the precise definition which is deemed to be unsuitable for children. If a matter is classified, it has to be restricted in its availability through being in a wrapper or not being for sale in certain shops.

Senator WORTLEY —Can we go over this again: is it correct that pursuant to the bill, an electronic version of one of those magazines would not be considered prohibited content under the bill and would be accessible online?

Dr Pelling —If the material has been classified restricted 1 or restricted 2, it is prohibited content. If it has not been classified, then it is not prohibited content. In addition, there is scope—I cannot remember the precise wording—for the bill to deal with potential prohibited content—

Senator WORTLEY —I am about to get to that.

Dr Pelling —in other words, if it is likely that it would be classified as this, then it can be regulated in the same way.

Senator WORTLEY —Potentially prohibited content is defined as content which:

... has not been classified by the Classification Board and if it were to be classified, there would be a substantial likelihood that the content would be prohibited content.

This provision would appear to place an unreasonable and onerous burden on the content service provider to guess whether the subject matter of content would be prohibited. How would this work in practice?

Dr Pelling —In practice, I think it is for the regulator to enable them to issue take-down notices where content has not yet been classified but where there is a reasonable likelihood that it would be classified as prohibited. Then the regulator has the capacity to seek classification of that content to confirm the decision. I am not sure if I have got the words quite right, but there is an interim take-down provision and a final take-down provision. So the regulator is not bound by material which has been classified because, of course, the vast majority of the content on the internet has not been classified. The way the scheme works is that the regulator has the capacity to operate the take-down system if it is of the view that there is a substantial likelihood that a piece of content would be classified.

Senator WORTLEY —Can the content service provider put the material up?

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —So they do not have to make a decision as to whether or not it would be likely to be potentially prohibited content; it is only when the regulator comes in that that is addressed?

Dr Pelling —I will just go back to something I said earlier. The scheme essentially involves the regulator, either on its own initiative or usually through a complaints system, operating to take down content. So if a person chose to put up what they knew or considered to be prohibited content, that would be at their own risk because it could then be subject to a take-down notice if the regulator chose to act or if somebody made a complaint about that content. But, as I said earlier, it is not binding on the service providers to assess all the content that they have on a constant basis to make sure it is not prohibited content.

There is one caveat, one slight difference, that I will point out. In relation to MA15+ there is a requirement under the code of practice provisions that there will be content assessors, so when commercially available content is provided the service provider has to have a trained assessor in place to look at that. But, even in that situation, at the end of the day whether or not content is prohibited content is a matter for the regulator to assess on the basis of content that is available to the public, not to speculate on things that might be available.

Senator WEBBER —Can I just expand on that a bit. This is a definitional problem again. What does ‘substantial likelihood’ mean? Given the fact that the regulator is not the one that makes those decisions for other forms of access, if the regulator decides that that substantial likelihood exists and it therefore tells you to remove it, but in fact had it gone through the classification process it would have been allowed, is there an appeal mechanism and can you get it back on air? I am not saying I want to look at any of this, by the way!

Dr Pelling —In fact that is precisely how it operates. Initially the regulator would issue, on the basis of its ‘substantial likelihood’ judgement, a take-down notice. It would then get the material classified. And it has to revoke a notice if the material is classified as not being prohibited.

Senator WEBBER —Is that all that happens? If someone had something there that it turns out the Classification Board, if we did it the old fashioned way and it was old fashioned media, would have allowed, but the regulator removed it for some time, what kind of—it just seems to me that we are a bit vague about ‘substantial.’ Is there a time frame within which that decision has to be made? Is there any kind of redress? I do not mean compensation, but there has to be something going back to the people if they put something there and it turns out it was legal, if the regulator forced them to remove it and it turned out the regulator was wrong.

Dr Pelling —I will read you an example. The particular one I have in front of me is a live content service:

If, in the course of investigation, ACMA is satisfied that live content is prohibited content, and it were satisfied that if the content were to be classified there is a substantial likelihood that it would be classified as prohibited, then  it will give them an interim notice to cease the service and it must apply to the Classification Board for the classification of the content.

To paraphrase: if a response to an application made is required by subclause 3 and ACMA is informed of the classification of a particular content, ACMA must give the relevant live content service provider a written notice setting out the classification.

In the case where the effect of the classification is such that it would be prohibited content, it must give them a final service cessation notice directing them to take further action. If the material is not prohibited then it essentially lifts it in the interim. In the meantime, the scheme operates such that the material must be removed.

Senator WEBBER —But there is no time frame for that. That can drag on for a while.

Dr Pelling —I would have to look at that.

Dr Badger —We will look at the issue that you have raised and see whether the system can be improved by looking at the time frame issue.

Mr Cordina —There may be a time frame under the classification act, but I do not think that there is one specified in the actual bill.

Dr Badger —We need to do two things: clarify for you the way the classification system works and look at the issue that you have raised about the practicality of the bill.

Senator WORTLEY —So this would go to the Classification Board.

Dr Pelling —Yes.

Senator WORTLEY —Are you expecting an influx of additional work for the Classification Board?

Dr Pelling —I suppose to the extent that the bill is wider than the current online scheme in schedule 5 then one could potentially expect a greater range of material to be referred to the Classification Board.

Senator WORTLEY —Have staffing requirements been considered in regard to this?

Dr Pelling —We have been consulting with the Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the development of the bill, but the requirements of the Classification Board are a matter for that department. They now that this is coming.

Mr Cordina —A request for classification also has to be accompanied by a fee, which—

Dr Pelling —That is correct.

Senator WEBBER —And ACMA pays the fee?

Senator WORTLEY —Who pays the fee?

Mr Cordina —It would be whoever is asking for the content to be classified. If that was ACMA, then ACMA would pay.

Senator WEBBER —If the regulator says that it need to be classified, then it would be them paying the fee not the service provider.

Mr Cordina —If ACMA is requesting the classification, that is right.

Dr Pelling —A service provider can also request classification of their own material.

Mr Cordina —They would have to pay the fee.

Senator WEBBER —Absolutely.

Senator WORTLEY —Set out in section 81 of the bill is the fact that the trained content assessors who will classify this material will be engaged by the commercial content service providers. Is it intended that the commercial content service providers will meet the cost of training them?

Dr Pelling —Yes. All the bill basically says is that they must engage trained content assessors and that they must ensure that certain content is assessed by those trained content providers. That would be at their own expense.

Senator WORTLEY —What will the cost be for each trained content assessor?

Dr Pelling —I have no idea.

Senator WORTLEY —I am asking how much it will cost for them to be trained, not how much it will cost to employ them to do the assessment.

Dr Pelling —I do not know.

Dr Badger —Just to go back a step, there is a principle behind the activity. It is that if you are providing content to users then you should take reasonable steps to ensure that you are not providing content that may be accessible by children that is likely to cause a problem. That is the fundamental driver of everything. You come back to that. In this case, the judgement about the bill is that is a shared responsibility and if you provide content you need to take part of the responsibility.

Senator WORTLEY —Who will train the content assessors?

Mr Cordina —They have to undertake a course which has been approved by the director of the Classification Board.

Dr Badger —Aren’t there training programs associated with the broadcasting industry, for example?

Dr Pelling —Yes. There are people who do this training. I am sure that the Classification Board could refer people to those specialists.

Dr Badger —That part of the act sets a standard for the type of training program that they can use. It has to be one approved by the director.

Dr Pelling —The board. I would also point out that many major content providers—such as some who have already been witnesses before the committee, such as the mobile service providers—already have trained content assessors operating. The broadcasters do. In fact, my recollection is that it is a requirement under the Telecommunications Service Provider (Mobile Premium Services) Determination code of conduct that people have appropriate means of assessing content.

Mr Cordina —And we are talking about commercial content service providers here in terms of the requirement to have a trained content assessor, not someone who is providing it on a non-commercial basis.

Dr Pelling —It is where the service is available for a fee.

Senator WEBBER —But there are new and emerging ways of doing this. Obviously, the broadcasters and so on do, but it is a matter of making sure that the system will pick up the next step—

Dr Badger —Yes, that the system works in practice.

Senator WEBBER —rather than all of us having to come back in six months time, when someone has developed something new yet again. As I say, I cannot even make my laptop work half the time, so obviously I am not someone who should be involved in this industry. If we will need new assessors and will need to train them, is the system ready to go? Is there a curriculum?

Mr Cordina —We have liaised with the Classification Board and they are aware of the need to have an approved course up and running. We do not think there will be any problem in having that course ready to go by the time that legislation comes into effect.

Senator WEBBER —So they are looking at the kinds of curriculum and what have you that they need in order to train content assessors for this brave new world. Going back to the restricted access systems—I could have this all wrong—as I understand it, the bill provides that content classified as MA15+ that is not text or still images must have an age verification system in place. Is that right?

Dr Badger —Where it is a commercial service.

Mr Cordina —For commercial services, yes.

Senator WEBBER —For example, would a website that has moving images classified as MA15+, such as the preview of a movie or something like that, be subject to an age verification system?

Dr Pelling —Where the service is available for a fee, any content that is MA15+ is prohibited unless it is subject to an age verification system.

Senator WEBBER —So it is the fee. Must the whole of that website therefore be subject to an age verification system?

Dr Pelling —No, just the content.

Senator WEBBER —So, with a website that you access for a fee, from which you can download a clip of some extraordinary film—which even for free I would never watch, let alone pay money to do so—the age verification system would need to be triggered when you accessed that bit rather than when you accessed the website generally.

Dr Pelling —I do not know about the technical practicalities of that, but essentially the content concerned must be aged restricted.

Mr Cordina —You can quarantine it so that only the MA15+ content has to be subject to age restriction. If other content on there is not MA15+—

Senator WEBBER —Sometimes there is. I just wonder how that would work.

Dr Pelling —Typically, it already has to operate with mobile phone services because already they operate down to a MA15+ scheme. I imagine they would have to age restrict access to an entire service where some or all of the content was MA15+ or above. It might be that not every bit of content in an age restricted service is MA15+; it is a matter for—

Senator WEBBER —But, if it has anything that is MA15+ attached to it, the whole service then will become age restricted.

Dr Pelling —It is a matter of what the technology allows them to do as to whether they are able, as Simon says, to quarantine out a particular part of the service or whether a whole stream of content—say, a channel or a set of information that is being provided by a service provider—has to be age restricted.

Dr Badger —It is fundamentally up to the commercial provider to establish a service consistent with the regulatory environment that allows them to maintain their major business. If the MA15+ content forms only a small part of their activities, they will have an incentive to put in place a subset restricted-access part of their service.

Dr Pelling —I would emphasise again that this is not a prima facie offence scheme; in other words, people are not committing an offence by providing prohibited content per se. The requirement under the scheme is that, when they are issued a notice by the regulator to take down content, they take it down. Failure to comply with the notice is a civil or criminal offence.

Senator WEBBER —Absolutely, but I find most people in life want to get the system right first so that regulators have as little to do with the way they live their life as possible.

Dr Badger —Yes. Here we are drawing out the complexity of the issues and how rapidly technology is changing.

Senator WEBBER —And trying to anticipate change, which is difficult.

Dr Badger —Yes.

CHAIR —I notice some of these questions are technical amendments which we can put on notice.

Senator WORTLEY —I have some other questions.

CHAIR —All right.

Senator WORTLEY —Are you aware of the 2006 US judgement in ACLU v Gonzales where the federal court judge found that credit cards, debit accounts, adult access codes and adult personal identification numbers do not in fact verify age, and, as a result, their use does not, in good faith, restrict access to minors?

Dr Badger —I am not aware of it. I do not know whether in the legal environment it has been looked at but we will have a look.

Senator WORTLEY —It was raised this morning by some of the people here.

CHAIR —The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties.

Dr Badger —We will examine what they have said.

Senator WORTLEY —On what basis does DCITA consider that restricted access systems will prevent children from accessing such content? What studies have you considered and with whom did you consult?

Dr Pelling —Essentially we are building on schemes that exist already. Under schedule 5 of the act, which schedule 7 absorbs a large part of, and the premium services determination, there is a requirement that certain content be age-verified. We have continued that requirement in here and we have given the regulator a broad power to work with the industry to determine what the most appropriate restricted access systems for their particular services might be. We do not make any judgements about what a preferred restricted access system is or even the efficacy of a particular restricted access system. That is a matter for the regulator to work out in relation to the industry—to determine what, under the take-down scheme, they would consider to be an effective system.

Senator WORTLEY —So there are no studies that have been done at this stage? Would you expect some to be undertaken by the regulator?

Dr Pelling —We would expect the regulator to determine a suitable set of restricted access systems that it will take into account under the scheme.

Senator WORTLEY —I understand that, but what will it be based on? Where will the decisions come from?

Dr Badger —As Dr Pelling said earlier, there are systems in place where there are age-restricted access systems being utilised already. The regulator will no doubt lean on the experience with those to take the issue forward and in the process consult with industry. We have the schedule 5 experience and the mobile phone determination that requires the establishment of age-restricted access systems, so we know that there are systems there that work in that environment and that is the reference point, if you like.

Dr Pelling —This will be a very similar environment, and indeed the Australian Communications and Media Authority regulates those schemes as well as this scheme.

Senator WORTLEY —Is there one type of restricted access system that will adequately achieve the bill’s objective?

Dr Pelling —Not that I am aware of.

Dr Badger —Not a particular one. There are a range available that will achieve the bill’s objectives in the context of the particular arrangements for the service that a commercial service provider will establish.

Senator WORTLEY —Would you be able to describe some of the options available?

Dr Badger —I would sooner give you a more technical description. I can tell you that there are systems, for example, on pay TV. If you have a pay TV service, you can set up within that system a system such that, if you do not want to have access to certain types of content, you can put a PIN in it and then the only person who can access above that particular level is you. That is an example of one that operates in the pay TV industry. I am not familiar with the mobile phone ones. I think we should get you the details of how they operate.

Senator WEBBER —Are we sure the mobile phones are actually effective?

Dr Pelling —That is a matter for ACMA to determine in its assessment of the scheme.

Dr Badger —But they certainly operate at the moment, and the evidence so far in terms of the way the process has gone under schedule 5, those systems perform the job they were intended to do. But I think the important thing about this has come back to the same issue, that because it is a changing environment we give the power to the regulator to be able to keep track of things, what is happening, and work with the industry to ensure that there are systems in place which allow the objectives the bill to be met.

Senator WEBBER —When you say we have got systems in place and they do the job they are set up to do, how do we know that? We are looking at a piece of legislation to set up a new system and I want to be sure it is going to work.

Dr Badger —The regulator deals with the schedule 5 activities, and we have no evidence from the activities of the regulator or from the community or consumers that those systems do not work. I am afraid that is the only—

Dr Pelling —In the premium services determination, there are a series of parts which actually set out the way in which a mobile carriage service provider is required to comply with age verification systems. There are several pages dealing with age verification.

Mr Cordina —I think that involves requiring appropriate identification and details of age and also the use of a confidential PIN or password. There are different mechanisms which could be used. You could have a combination of credit cards and a PIN and so forth.

Senator WEBBER —We have all sorts of mechanisms, I have no doubt about that, but it is a judgement call about whether they work or not. We are looking at creating a new system so I want to be sure that what we put in place actually works. There is no point in saying it works if we are not quite sure. Given the fact that there are a number of players in this industry that go across the sector, has any consideration been given for just one access control system to be used by the industry?

Dr Pelling —I think the concern there is that we regulate content potentially delivered across a variety of different types of devices. So what is appropriate for a mobile device might not be appropriate for a fixed device like a personal computer. The access system for an internet service delivered over a personal computer might be different from the access system needed for somebody who accesses a 3G service over a mobile device or some other device that is yet to be determined. So I do not think it is technically possible to have a single system that operates on everything because the operating systems and hardware and software in these devices are all different. It is the outcome which should be important.

CHAIR —Did you have some questions about filtering technology?

Senator WEBBER —I was going to come to that. You go for it.

CHAIR —Content filtering technology is not currently available for devices like mobile phones. Some submissions have argued that parents have the choice of disabling internet access on such devices and content delivery is thereby effectively self-regulated through payment for such services. Do you have any comments on that approach?

Dr Pelling —The only comment I would make is that, as far as my knowledge goes, I am not aware that there are any filters commercially available on mobile phones; so I think that is correct.

CHAIR —They are not currently available; that is true.

Dr Pelling —They are not currently available, although I have seen some experimental technology.

Dr Badger —The whole issue of security on mobile phones is not terribly helpful at the moment but it is a very large research topic because it is needed not only in the context of this type of access requirement but also as people increasingly use mobile phones for electronic transactions, banking et cetera; there is a whole area of activity which will be needed to get that system right for commercial purposes. It goes without saying that, as those things are developed, you get much better access to a range of ways of more effectively providing these sorts of access regimes. At the end of the day, the big thing in a lot of these issues is that, when you are talking about access to content for children, there is a significant requirement on behalf of parents and guardians to take an active role. If, for example—no, it doesn’t matter.

CHAIR —Go on.

Dr Badger —No, I suddenly decided it was not terribly relevant.

Senator WEBBER —A bit of self-regulation there, Dr Badger!

CHAIR —So you think content filtering technology for convergent devices is being developed anyway?

Dr Badger —It is a whole area of research activity. It is not just what we are talking about. Filtering technology is a software problem, essentially, and, as there are particularly requirements, the industry develops them for specific purposes. So that is the general issue to do with filtering. The government has put in place the Protecting Australian Families Online program, which will essentially take the issue of filtering content in the home a considerable number of steps further and draw much greater attention to it. At the same time we know that convergent devices are evolving as much more significant players enter the marketplace. This legislation is recognition of that. We also know that at the same time there is a whole lot of activity underway to try and put facilities on mobile phone and conversion devices to make them much more amenable to security and other aspects.

CHAIR —What about the effects on artists; have we discussed that?

Senator WEBBER —No, but we were going to.

Senator WORTLEY —We were going to.

Senator WEBBER —You lead on, Chair.

CHAIR —The Arts Law Centre argued:

… the proposed legislation does not adequately take into account the needs of filmmakers, multimedia and digital artists … The broad scope of the discretion available to ISP’s for the refusal of access to certain material is likely to detrimentally affect both artistic expression and dissemination. The proposed legislation … fails to provide an appeals or revocation avenue to content creators, against whom an access decision has been made.

What is the department’s response to those statements and why is there no avenue of appeal for the creators of this kind of content?

Dr Badger —We discussed earlier the process that is involved in the classification, and you can appeal against that process if you believe that your material has been incorrectly classified. The artist, the original content creator, will need to work with the people who actually make their content available to the public to set up their relationship there. At the end of the day, the bill comes down to a judgement about the extent to which we can put procedures in place to protect children in particular from accessing unsuitable content and also establish procedures that will prevent children being put in potentially dangerous environments like chat rooms et cetera. The objective of the bill is to do that while trying to provide an environment for content creators and content developers where there is incentive to continue to work with new media. It will always be a balancing act. While we are conscious of the concerns of the group you talked about, there does not seem to be, in the way we intend the system to operate, something which could cause enormous constraints.

Senator WORTLEY —Just in that area, the concern was also raised this morning that the industry was not consulted at all in relation to this bill. Do you know why that was?

Dr Badger —We have already said we will take on notice the issue of the consultation and who was consulted et cetera.

Senator WORTLEY —I wonder why the arts industry was not consulted—or were you not aware that they were not, at this stage?

Dr Badger —I do not know. We will have to check. There has been no deliberate decision, if you like, to not consult the artistic community or whatever. We know that people that use their content have certainly been consulted as part of the process—publishers and others.

Senator WORTLEY —Can I just go back to an issue that we were speaking about before we got onto the arts? I just want a clarification about the limitations relating to prohibited content and age verification mechanisms. Will they also apply to live stream services?

Dr Pelling —Yes. Live stream services will still have to have age verification mechanisms for R18+ material generally and for MA15+ material if it is available on a commercial basis.

Senator WORTLEY —The bill would also appear to ban material that is now legitimately sold in the ACT and the NT in adult stores and online. Is that correct?

Dr Pelling —Insofar as X-rated material is sold in the ACT at the moment, the bill has a general exclusion for X-rated material. X-rated material is prohibited content.

Senator WORTLEY —So there are businesses that lawfully sell this material, but they will be prohibited from running online enterprises on Australian websites. Is that correct?

Dr Pelling —All I can say is that X-rated material will be prohibited material under the scheme. So, to the extent that there are in that situation slightly different environments in different spaces, consistent with existing schemes under the act—the schedule 5 scheme and, indeed, the Premium Services Determination, which both currently make X-rated material prohibited material and, in the case of schedule 5, have done so for a number of years—this schedule will also make X-rated material prohibited material. So if somebody wants to provide X-rated material using a content service as defined in the act, then it will be prohibited.

Senator WEBBER —So I can go to the shop and get it but I cannot buy it online?

CHAIR —That is what it seems.

Senator WEBBER —I want to go back to the whole magazine issue, too, because it seems to me that I can go to the shop and buy the magazine but I cannot view it online. Not that I want to do any of this, but—

Senator WORTLEY —Just for the record!

Dr Badger —You can go to the shop in certain places.

Senator WEBBER —Yes.

Dr Pelling —If material is available from overseas, for example. This content regulatory scheme relates to material which is based in Australia.

Senator WEBBER —I understand that, but I am living here in Canberra, so I can hop in my car and go and get it but I cannot use my laptop out of hours and have it sent to my home?

Dr Pelling —I think that would be an effect of the scheme, yes.

Dr Badger —And that is the judgement that has been taken in the bill. Because of the nature of that content, making it available electronically makes it much more freely available than it does potentially in hard copy. That is the policy judgement that is contained in the bill. That is the way that the government has moved.

Senator WEBBER —In part of the consultation process, did anyone submit that that should become age restrictive rather than just a blanket ban? Because it seems to me quite extraordinary that I can hop in my car but I cannot download it. It is quite bizarre, really.

Dr Pelling —I know that there were consultations with two groups who were potentially affected, and they were TransACT, in the ACT, and the Eros foundation. I do not recall that I was at any of those discussions, but I presume that they raised those sorts of issues with the minister.

Mr Cordina —Consistent with how schedule 5 currently works is that X-rated material is prohibited online; therefore, that is what we have now extended into this extended regime.

Senator WEBBER —It is a matter of purchasing the material. I mean it would be a commercial transaction.

Dr Badger —As Mr Cordina says, the judgement essentially is that the making available of material online or in electronic form makes it more easily accessible, and in that context the decision has been taken, both with the history of schedule 5 and in this bill, that it will not be available electronically.

Senator WEBBER —I am sorry to labour this point, but can I just clarify: if I live in Canberra—which I do not—I can go to certain places and buy it or I can access it online offshore, but I cannot access it online here?

Dr Pelling —That is the situation at the moment.

Dr Badger —It is the same situation as applies to schedule 5.

Senator WEBBER —I just want it to be abundantly clear.

Mr Cordina —In terms of accessing X-rated and prohibited information offshore, there is also the possibility of referring that to ACMA to place on a black list so that it can no longer be accessible to people who are using filters.

Senator WEBBER —It begs the question of why the government chooses to allow people to purchase it at all. If we are going to say that they cannot purchase it online, why not just put a blanket ban on it?

Senator WORTLEY —The bill restricts the use of computer games by banning those that are classified R and X. Can you explain why this is, given that adults are also consumers in the computer game market and, as has been put in other submissions, should be able to access such games if they choose to?

Dr Pelling —Computer games which would be classified R and X are prohibited in this country already, so we are merely adopting the classification scheme that already exists. MA15+ is the highest classification you can currently have for a computer game.

CHAIR —Are there other issues about content?

Senator WORTLEY —Yes. The bill could arguably be seen to discriminate against artists who use media technology for the creation and dissemination of their work. Was this considered by DCITA?

Dr Pelling —We did not specifically focus on individual groups in that way except that the government policy has sought to implement a content neutral approach. So the regulatory scheme is aimed at content services in a fairly generic sense without identifying particular groups of the community who might be treated differently from other groups. If artistic content or any other content meets the criteria of prohibited content, it will be considered prohibited content; if it does not then it will not. We do not treat ‘artistic content’ any differently from any other form of content.

Senator WORTLEY —Can you explain why section 55 relates only to internet content? Should it also relate to mobile services?

Dr Pelling —I might take that on notice because I think the answer is fairly technical and relates to the interaction between schedule 7 and the old schedule 5 and is a drafting link. If I can take that on notice and get an answer back to you that would be the best thing, rather than speculating.

Senator WORTLEY —I would appreciate that. In their submission, ASTRA raised the point that on-demand services such as Foxtel IQ could be subject to one level of regulation while the remainder of Foxtel services are subject to another. Is this correct?

Dr Pelling —The particular issue, as I understand it, relating to Foxtel is that they have a service which distributes material on a point to multipoint basis to the hard drive in an IQ box and then people can access it at that particular time. Whether or not that is a prohibited service would hinge on whether or not it constitutes a broadcasting service or not. There are specific definitions in the Broadcasting Services Act about what is and is not broadcasting. The first decision would be about whether or not that is a broadcasting service. If it is a broadcasting service, it is outside the regulatory framework in schedule 7. If it is not a broadcasting service and it is a point-to-point download service then it would fall within the regulatory framework within schedule 7 and it would be subject to the age restriction rules that exist.

Senator WEBBER —As someone who has one of them, is it or is it not broadcasting? I view it as watching television.

Dr Pelling —It is very difficult to make judgments of these things on the spot, but my understanding is that it is a broadcasting service.

Senator WORTLEY —Is that a definitive answer or does the government intend to clarify this?

Dr Badger —We are in discussion with ASTRA about the interpretation of ‘broadcasting service’ around that. The initial advice we have is that it is a broadcasting service, but we will continue to look at the ramifications of that to ensure that services that are essentially designed to be part of, say, the Foxtel pay TV service, for example, or the other pay TV service operators, and are designed to operate in that regulatory environment, are not inadvertently caught up in this regime.

Senator WORTLEY —Given the pace of technology, can you tell us today how the bill proposes to deal with new and emerging types of media so that they are also regulated in accordance with the provisions of the bill?

Dr Pelling —The bill focuses—

Senator WORTLEY —Was that a sigh I heard?

Dr Badger —If I had the answer to that I would not be here!

Dr Pelling —If I can attempt a general answer, the bill essentially focuses on content rather than delivery technology. In other words, provided the service falls within the fairly broad definition of ‘content service’ as set out in the bill—which is a service which delivers content or makes available content using a carriage service, which, again, is a very broad concept—then it is potentially regulated by this. Whether or not a particular type of service or a particular type of device falls under that would be a matter to be determined.

Dr Badger —The objective of the bill is to establish an environment for regulation which is not dependent on the nature of the technology used to deliver the services. That is probably your best way of dealing with new services as they emerge. However, as we all know, you cannot ignore the fact that, as technology changes, you may get different approaches. The approach has been to keep all these operations under review to ensure that the legislation and the intent of the legislation remains consistent with new types of service delivery systems as they emerge. But I stress that the objective behind this particular bill is to regulate the content service rather than the content service delivered in a particular fashion, which would bring you into the technology-specific activity.

Senator WORTLEY —Some submissions argue that the proposed regulatory regime is deficient in that it cannot prohibit or restrict content that is unsuitable for children that is hosted overseas. The Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers raised those issues. What is the department’s response to that?

Dr Pelling —I think the regulation of content needs to be seen as a holistic exercise which is tackled on a number of fronts. While there are obvious jurisdictional issues in terms of us regulating content that might come out of, say, the United States or Russia, the government’s other arm to this is the use of filtering technology, through Protecting Australian Families Online, which empowers people to filter out overseas content. It is a multifaceted content strategy which is a mixture of regulatory tools and empowerment of families to take steps to protect themselves against technology. Then there are things like spam and that sort of stuff, which also deal with content related issues.

Dr Badger —There is also an emerging concern internationally about the need to try and get more cross-border understanding of these issues. Australia is one of the leading countries in dealing with the problem as we see it here. As Dr Pelling said, the government’s approach to the whole issue has a hands-on practical side in terms of filters but also has the broader regulatory environment. What we are trying to do is also stimulate a much greater involvement in concerns over the issue in international forums.

Dr Pelling —The other thing I would mention is that under the scheme there is a requirement for ACMA to refer material of a sufficiently serious nature to warrant referral to a law enforcement agency to a law enforcement agency. ACMA also has links with overseas organisations to provide information on particularly abhorrent content they get. There are mechanisms in place where international collaboration can be established. As Dr Badger says, this is a growing area of interest for a number of governments—trying to find better ways of collaborating.

Dr Badger —Essentially, governments learnt to work together over spam issues and you are now getting people being taken to court over spam, whether it be in Australia or in the United States, whereas four or five years ago that was not an issue that governments could deal with.

Senator WORTLEY —The Internet Industry Association argued that regulating ephemeral content will restrict the ability of online entertainment portals to develop into new areas of content without significant regulation compliance costs which could render the service uneconomic. What is the department’s view on that?

Dr Pelling —I cannot really comment on whether services will be economic or not. If by ‘ephemeral’ they mean live content service, the scheme regulates live content services. In fact, that was quite explicitly seen by the government as, if you like, a loophole in the current system of content regulation, which is in schedule 5 and focused very much on hosted, stored content. So a key policy point in this regulatory framework is to provide a mechanism whereby live streamed content can also be regulated.

Dr Badger —Once again we come back to a bit of a prevailing theme. The regulatory environment does not do anything about ephemeral content per se. It deals with particular forms of ephemeral content that people wish to restrict particularly children having access to. If you are designing a commercial business around a form of content called ephemeral, there is no particular impact from this regulatory environment unless the content is regarded as objectionable. The process that is involved in the system is one of reaction to complaints. So while there are not highly significant onuses placed—if that is the right word—on the commercial operators to do a whole lot of checking on the off chance, the regulatory environment is attempting to strike a balance between one lot of concerns, recognising that there is a whole new industry waiting to develop out there related to the ephemeral content issue, for example.

Senator WORTLEY —Moving on from that, DMG Radio argued that user-generated content should be exempted from the bill, as commercial radio providers do not control that content and any requirements for them to pre-vet that content would lessen their ability to communicate with users live and in real time. What is the department’s response to that?

Dr Badger —I am not quite clear what they are getting at. For a start, broadcasting services are not picked up, but I presume they are talking about their own websites. Are they not suggesting that they would have to, if you like, pre-classify or pre-assess all the content, when in fact they do not have to?

Senator WORTLEY —The concern is that it is live or in real time.

Dr Badger —But the fact that it is live does not mean they have to pre-assess it, do they?

Dr Pelling —No. Pre-assessment of content is only required for the narrow category of commercial services, and these sorts of things are not normally done on a fee basis. They are open to chat about a particular radio program or a particular issue or something like that. It is the same as the Big Brother example I used earlier. Content that is put on those systems that is available to the public—for example, on an open kind of chat service—is potentially subject to a take-down notice but it would have to be the subject of a complaint and action by the regulator.

Senator WORTLEY —Could you have a look at their submission and the concern that was raised, because it did actually go further than that. Could you take it on notice to respond to that.

Dr Badger —We will have a look at that. As is quite evident, this is not a straightforward thing and there are judgements to be taken all the way through. Certainly, the intent of the bill is to do the protection side of it without placing excessive costs on industry; that is certainly behind the design. In most cases, unless somebody is providing access to content that is really on that edge where they are likely to be worried about it then it should not be of any concern to them whatsoever. But we will have a look at that particular thing.

Senator WORTLEY —I would appreciate that. Thank you.

CHAIR —We have a list of technical amendment questions which we will place on notice for you; there are several of them. We would be grateful to get replies by Monday. Is that too late?

Dr Badger —We will get them to you as soon as we possibly can.

CHAIR —We are on a tight deadline.

Dr Badger —We understand that.

CHAIR —If you could do that, we would be very grateful. I thank the department and officials for being here. I thank Hansard, the staff and everybody involved, and I close this hearing.

Committee adjourned at 1.47 pm