Exemptions from pit and pipe requirements

Date published:

To facilitate the rollout of telecommunications to new premises, Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 generally requires developers to have fibre-ready pit and pipe installed in their projects.

Developers may be exempt from the requirements in certain situations. For example, developers could be exempt where existing pit and pipe are available and can be re-used.

Through a legislative instrument, developers are also able to claim an exemption for certain types of developments outside fixed-line SIP network regions, where it is unlikely that fixed-line infrastructure will be installed and pit and pipe is not warranted.

This exemption is targeted at developments in rural and remote areas where telecommunications would generally be offered by wireless or satellite services that do not need pit and pipe infrastructure.

According to the exemption instrument, for a development to be exempt all of the following must apply:

  • No part of the project area is located inside the fixed-line network region of a relevant SIP.
  • A relevant SIP has provided written notice to the person responsible for the development that the SIP will not install a fixed-line network inside the project area.
  • There is no new underground utility infrastructure installed or planned to be installed in proximity to each building lot situated in the project area, as part of the project or as headworks to service the project.

There is also a 'fallback' exemption mechanism in the instrument, for cases where the development does not meet the criterion relating to no new underground infrastructure, but where the SIP advises it does not intend to take ownership of developer-installed pit and pipe. In these circumstances the development would be eligible for an exemption.

The instrument also specifies that if SIPs do not reply within 30 business days to developer enquiries about fixed-line network provision or taking ownership of pit and pipe, then the developer may qualify for an exemption. In the absence of an alternative mutually-agreed timeframe, a failure to reply by the relevant SIP within the 30 days is taken to mean the SIP does not wish to install fixed-line networks or take ownership of pit and pipe (whichever case applies). In these circumstances, the development would be exempt from pit and pipe installation.

As a condition of the exemption instrument, developers that meet the above criteria and wish to claim an exemption need to notify the Secretary of the responsible department by filling in this form. Developers should provide details of the development specified in the instrument so the request for an exemption can be checked by the department. Developers should also retain evidence of correspondence with SIPs and upload these files to the webform where stipulated.

If the development meets the exemption requirements and sufficient evidence is provided, the development will be placed on the pit and pipe exemption register. The register can be found here: 2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016.

If a locality is further developed in the future, that new development would need to be assessed in terms of whether it was subject to Part 20A of the Act or would require further exemption.

Developers that have falsely claimed an exemption under the instrument are subject to legislative penalties.

The department does not provide legal advice. You should seek your own independent legal advice if you have queries about exemptions under the instrument.

In addition to these standing exemptions, there is scope under Part 20A to also seek an individual exemption directly in writing from the Minister for Communications. If you wish to seek an individual exemption you should contact us by email at new.developments@infrastructure.gov.au. Your request for an exemption should be addressed to the Minister and set out your reasons for seeking the exemption and what telecommunications infrastructure  has been provided to people occupying premises in your development.

Register of exempted developments


We keep a register of the developments exempted from the Part 20A requirements. This register can be found by clicking on the relevant year:

2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016.