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Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 2000
Date Introduced: 29 June 2000
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
Commencement: Immediately after the commencement of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Act (No.2) 2000. This legislation will be deemed to have commenced on 1 July 2000.
To make minor amendments to the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 1997 in consequence of provisions contained in the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Bill (No.2) 2000.
The Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 1997 (the Principal Act) imposes a levy on telecommunications carriers to fund the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and the Digital Data Service Obligation (DDSO). These obligations are imposed on telecommunications carriers by the provisions of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.
This Bill has been introduced in conjunction with the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Bill (No.2) 2000, which amends Part 2 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 to establish a new universal service regime. Readers should consult the Bills Digest for that Bill for background to this legislation.
Item 1 of Schedule 1 repeals the definition of 'participating carrier' in section 5 of the Principal Act reflecting the Government's decision to impose the levy on 'participating persons'.
Item 2 inserts a definition of 'participating person'. This term refers to telecommunications carriers and service providers who will be required to contribute to the cost of the USO and DDSO under the new universal service regime. The meaning of this term is the same as in Part 2 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.
Proposed section 20A of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Bill (No.2) 2000 defines a participating person as a person who was a carrier at any time during the eligible revenue period; or a carriage service provider (for example an Internet service provider) determined to be a participating person by the Minister. A person will not be held to be a participating person if the person's gross telecommunications revenue for the eligible revenue period is less than a threshold amount determined by the Minister. The Minister may also determine that persons of a specified kind are not participating persons. The significance of this amendment is that for the first time carriage service providers may be required to directly pay the universal service levy.
Item 3 inserts a new section 6 which imposes a levy on participating persons who have a levy debit balance under section 20S of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1997. The 'levy debit' will be calculated on the basis of the ratio of each carrier/provider's eligible revenue to the total of all eligible revenue multiplied by the total amount of levy credits (that is, the total amount of claims for payment of a USO subsidy accepted by the Australian Communications Authority).
Item 5 inserts a new section 8 which requires participating persons to pay a levy that has been imposed upon them.
Item 6 makes clear that the amendments in this Bill only apply from 1 July 2000.
Mark Tapley and Kim Jackson
4 September 2000
Bills Digest Service
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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000
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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2000.
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