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Spectrum for government use

Australian Government held spectrum

With changes to modern technology there is an increased demand on the finite resource of spectrum. The Australian Government is a large user of spectrum for important public service provision. As such, there is an obligation on government to ensure that processes are in place to continually identify and implement efficiency improvements to the management and use of spectrum holdings.

The 2018 Commonwealth Held Spectrum Review made clear recommendations to initially focus on creating appropriate governance arrangements and develop robust data collection processes. The Review noted that once these frameworks are established, the identification and implementation of longer-term improvements can be explored.

In line with the Review, in April 2018 we established the Government Spectrum Steering Committee which meets at least twice a year. The Committee is comprised of senior representatives from Commonwealth Departments and Agencies that are significant users of spectrum for their services.

Australian Government Held Spectrum report

At the meeting of March 2019, the Government Spectrum Steering Committee endorsed the first biennial Australian Government held spectrum report which outlines information on the radiofrequency spectrum licences held by Australian Government departments and agencies. This stock-take of spectrum use every two years will assist in future coordination and effective management of this resource.

Public Safety Mobile Broadband (PSMB)

The Australian Government recognises that a national public safety mobile broadband capability for emergency services—police, fire, ambulance and emergency services—will enhance the delivery of public safety services.

It will improve responses to emergency service events and enable agencies to better communicate with other agencies within and between jurisdictions.

Council of Australian Governments Communiqué

On 12 December 2018, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) released a communique which stated "All jurisdictions agreed a Strategic Roadmap that sets out a plan to design, implement and operate PSMB and to continue to work together to resolve the supporting spectrum arrangements in parallel with proof of concept trials." This is an important advancement in the establishment of a united national PSMB capability.

Cost-benefit analysis

The Productivity Commission has undertaken a cost-benefit analysis into the best way to deliver a mobile broadband capability for Australia's emergency services by 2020. The commission started the analysis on 25 March 2015. It released a draft report on 23 September 2015 and the final report was released on 12 January 2016.


Australian Government held spectrum report

Published 5th Apr 2019

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In preparing this report, the Committee has focused on establishing a data collection and reporting methodology that can be used for future reports, thereby enabling analysis over time. This reporting process assists agencies and departments to identify opportunities to review their holdings and identify potential opportunities to improve the efficiency in the management and use of their individual holdings. Over time and with advances in technology, this may enable Australian Government users to identify opportunities to exchange or share spectrum.

Broadband Communications Options for Public Safety Agencies

Published 1st Dec 2012

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The focus of this report is on broadband requirements for current and future applications for use by Public Safety Agencies (PSAs) in day-to-day activities as well as extreme events that may impact on large numbers of people. The report considers delivery options for PSAs that would complement a dedicated mobile wireless network. These documents have not been produced by us and may not meet WCAG 2.1 Level AA requirements. Please contact us at xxx [at] to obtain alternative copies.

Government response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement's enquiry into Spectrum for public safety mobile broadband

Published 1st Nov 2014

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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement report Spectrum for public safety mobile broadband was tabled in the Senate on 12 November 2013 and in the House of Representatives on 13 November 2013. The Australian Government’s has responsed to the committee’s five recommendations.