Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Amendments to the telecommunications carrier powers and immunities framework—Tranche One

The Australian Government is seeking comments on proposed amendments that could better balance and modernise the operation of the carrier powers and immunities framework.

Why we want your input

Your feedback will be used to inform advice to Government on how changes to the framework should be implemented.

How you can voice your opinion

You can submit your views by providing a written submission by 5:00pm Thursday 1 April 2021.

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your feedback will inform advice to Government on how changes to the framework will better balance the interests of landowners and carriers.

The Issue

Telecommunications companies have powers to enter land and install and maintain some types of telecommunications facilities, and immunities from state and territory laws when doing so. These carrier powers and immunities are set out under Schedule 3 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 and are critical to the efficient construction and maintenance of telecommunications networks.

The Department consulted on 12 possible changes to the carrier powers and immunities framework over a six-week period ending on 30 October 2020. The proposals were designed to better balance and modernise the operation of the framework. The consultation outcomes paper and non-confidential submissions are available on the Improving the telecommunications powers and immunities framework consultation page.

Stakeholder feedback enabled the Department to identify appetite for regulatory and non-regulatory change. This consultation package represents the next step – outlining details of what proposed changes could look like.

Current consultation

The Department has prepared exposure drafts of amendments to the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018 (Code of Practice) and Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (LIFD) to assist stakeholder understanding of the effects of the proposed changes.

The Department is seeking stakeholder feedback on the substance and operation of the proposed changes.

Code of Practice amendments

The proposed amendments to the Code of Practice primarily relate to the following proposals:

  • Clarify existing safety conditions;
  • Introduce a new engineering certificate requirement;
  • Introduce a new requirement for carriers to withdraw notices for cancelled activities;
  • Introduce a new power for carriers to refer a matter to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, after they have made reasonable efforts to resolve the matter in good faith; and
  • Include a timeframe in which carriers must refer landowner-requested objections to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

The accompanying Explanatory Statement provides further details of the proposed changes.

LIFD amendments

The proposed amendments to the LIFD primarily relate to the following proposals:

  • Increase the maximum protrusion length of antennae from 3 metres to 5 metres;
  • Increase the maximum diameter of a radiocommunications dish from 1.8 metres to 2.4 metres;
  • Amend the current tower extension conditions to include commercial areas, and to allow for subsequent extensions to a tower up to a cumulative maximum height of 5 metres; and
  • Increase the maximum co-location volume limit in Commercial areas from 25 per cent to 50 per cent.

The proposed changes are intended to occur concurrently with amendments to the Code of Practice which would clarify and reinforce existing carrier requirements to ensure the exercise of applicable powers and immunities are conducted safely and complies with industry standards and codes.

Increasing the dimensions of existing facilities could also encourage greater co-location and minimise the impact on the local visual amenity, by reducing the requirement to install new, stand-alone facilities.

Further details are set out in the Explanatory Statement for the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Amendment Determination 2021.

Your feedback on the proposed amendments will assist the Government in ensuring that reforms to the powers and immunities framework are reasonable, fit-for-purpose, and meet the needs of modern Australia.

Make a submission

Please include:

  • contact name
  • organisation name, if applicable
  • contact details, including telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • confirmation whether or not your submission can be made public—published—or kept confidential.

If your submission is to be made public, please ensure you do not include any personal information that you don't want to be published.

All submissions to be made public need to meet the  Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.

Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notice

In accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act), your submission, including any personal information supplied, is being collected by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications for the purpose of seeking comments on what reforms are required that would ensure the powers and immunities framework continues to meet the needs of modern Australia.

The Department will use this information to strike the right balance between the community's need to access reliable, affordable telecommunications services and ensuring that property owners, local governments and communities have a say in the deployment of infrastructure that affects them.

Your personal information will be stored securely by the Department. It may be used by the Department to make further contact with you about the consultation process. Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third parties, except in the circumstances outlined below.

Submissions, in part or full, including the name of the author may be published on the Department's website or in the Government's response, unless the submission is confidential. Confidential submissions (including author name) will not be published. Private addresses and contact details will not be published or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.

Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish to make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.

Confidential submissions will be kept securely and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:

  • in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
  • where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia; or
  • where required by law.

The Department may also disclose confidential submissions within the Commonwealth of Australia, including with other Commonwealth agencies, where necessary in the public interest.

Please note that in order to protect the personal privacy of individuals in accordance with the Privacy Act any submissions containing sensitive information, personal information or information which may reasonably be used to identify a person or group of people may not be published, even if not marked as confidential.

The Department's privacy policy contains information regarding complaint handling processes and how to access and/or seek correction of personal information held by the Department. The Privacy Officer can be contacted on 02 6274 6495.

 

Relevant Documentation

Exposure Draft of the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021

Published 1st Mar 2021

Download PDF (464.4 KB)  Download DOC (172.69 KB)

This document has been prepared by the Department to assist stakeholders in understanding the proposed changes to Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018. This document may not meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. For an accessible copy, please email powersandimmunities@communications.gov.au.

Explanatory Statement of the Telecommunication Code of Practice 2021

Published 1st Mar 2021

Download PDF (258.23 KB)  Download DOC (94.03 KB)

The purpose of the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021 (the 2021 Code) is to repeal the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018 (the 2018 Code), and replace it with an updated code that modernises and improves the operation of the carrier powers and immunities framework. The 2021 Code consolidates certain provisions that were contained in the 2018 Code and will assist the rollout of 5G infrastructure and other telecommunications facilities.

Exposure Draft of the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Amendment Determination 2021

Published 1st Mar 2021

Download PDF (86.81 KB)  Download DOC (88.51 KB)

This document has been prepared by the Department to assist stakeholders in understanding the proposed changes to Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018. This document may not meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. For an accessible copy, please email powersandimmunities@communications.gov.au.

Explanatory Statement for the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Amendment Determination 2021

Published 1st Mar 2021

Download PDF (67.03 KB)  Download DOC (46.48 KB)

The purpose of the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Amendment Determination 2021 (the Determination) is to improve the operation of the telecommunications deployment framework and assist the rollout of 5G infrastructure and other telecommunications facilities through amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (the LIFD). The amendments made in the Determination will interact with some of the concurrent changes to the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021 (the Code of Practice) that also aim to improve the operation of the telecommunications deployment framework.

Table—Restructure of existing conditions into new Chapter 1A

Published 1st Mar 2021

Download PDF (227.37 KB)  Download DOC (149.33 KB)

This table is provided for information only, to assist stakeholders in understanding which sections of the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2018 have been restructured and collated into new Chapter 1A of the Exposure Draft of the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021. This document is not part of the Exposure Draft or Explanatory Statement for the Telecommunications Code of Practice 2021, and should not be referenced in stakeholder submissions.

Participate

01 Mar 2021 10:00 AEDT
09 Apr 2021 17:00 AEST
Closed

We invite you to to tell us your views on this topic.

Please include:

  • contact name
  • organisation name, if applicable
  • contact details, including telephone number, postal and email addresses
  • confirmation whether or not your submission can be made public—published—or kept confidential.

All submissions to be made public need to meet the Digital Service Standard for accessibility. Any submission that does not meet this standard may be modified before being made public.

If your submission is to be made public, please ensure you do not include any personal information that you don't want to be published.

If your submission is confidential, please ensure each page of the submission is marked as confidential.

Please click on the 'Have your say now' button below to upload your submission.

This consultation is closed.