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Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

SENATE

Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) charge Bill 2018

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

Amendment to be moved on behalf of the Government

Clause 20 provides for transitional arrangements for a carrier’s chargeable premises for a month in the first five eligible financial years to be reduced by up to 25,000 if the carrier has up to 25,000 ‘potentially concessional premises’ for that month. Potentially concessional premises would be defined in proposed section 96A of Part 3 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (TCPSS Act) (item 13 of Schedule 4 to the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2018 ) as chargeable premises that are residential or small business premises. Currently, the proposed concession is applied to individual carriers. However, this disadvantages smaller carriers that are not part of an associated group of carriers. The amendment seeks to address this inequity by providing that, where a carrier is part of an associated group of carriers, the concession will apply only to the controller of an associated group and not to each individual carrier under the controller. This will support market competition and ensure the concession is applied equitably across carriers that are required to pay the Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS) charge. Carriers that are not part of an associated group will not be impacted by this amendment; they will still obtain the benefit of the concession for the first five eligible years of the RBS. The amendment does not alter the financial impact outlined in the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

AMENDMENT

Amendment (1)

The amendment would add five new subclauses to clause 20. It provides an exception to subclauses 20(1) and 20(2), in relation to a person for a month if the person is a ‘subordinate member’ of an associated group during the whole or part of the month (proposed subclause 20(3) refers). If a person is in a position to exercise control of a local access line or a telecommunications network and the person has one or more associates, then the person is taken to belong to an associated group and each of those associates would be a subordinate member of the associated group. Together, proposed subclauses 20(3) and 20(4) have the effect of, in the case of associated carrier groups, applying the concession under subclauses 20(1) and 20(2) to the controlling carrier of an associated group but not to the subordinate members of the associated group. Note, the references to a person who is in a position to exercise control includes natural persons as well as a corporation.

Proposed subclauses 20(5), 20(6) and 20(7) set out the method by which to ascertain whether a person is in a position to exercise control of either a local access line or a telecommunications network. This method is consistent with proposed subsections 95(3), 95(4) and 95(5) (new Part 2 of the TCPSS Act). Amendment (86) of Sheet LC176 would add a further reporting item to the annual RBS carrier report to assist the Australian Communications and Media Authority with its assessment of charge liability and related enforcement.

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Communications,

Senator the Honourable Mitch Fifield)