Bills Digest No. 56  1998-99 Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 1998


Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Endnotes
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 1998

Date Introduced: 12 November 1998

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Commencement: 1 July 1999

Purpose

To amend a reference in the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 1997 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 to the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1998.

Background

The Universal Service regime is contained in Part 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. The USO is the obligation on the carrier who is the declared universal service provider to ensure that the standard telephone service (STS) and payphones are reasonably accessible to all Australians on an equitable basis.(1) STS refers to a service which permits voice telephony or an equivalent service for a person with a disability.(2) Regulations may be created which extend the definition of STS.

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts is empowered to declare that a specified carrier is the national universal service provider. At present, Telstra is the declared national universal service provider. Where Telstra incurs a loss in complying with the USO it is entitled to recoup those losses. That amount is recouped by imposing a levy on all carriers in proportion to their share of total carrier revenue.

This Bill is one of a package of five Bills.(3) Further background about this Bill is contained in the Bills Digest for the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Bill 1998.

Main Provisions

Items 1 to 3 amend references in the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 1997 to the Telecommunications Act 1997 to the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1998.

Item 4 makes it clear that the Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Act 1998 continues to apply in relation to levy for a quarter that ended on or before 30 June 1998 as if the amendment in item 1 had not been made and the repeal of Part 7A had not occurred.

Endnotes

1. Telecommunications Act 1997, section 149. Press Release

2. Telecommunications Act 1997, section 17.

3. Telstra (Transition to Full Private Ownership) Bill 1998

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 1998

Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment Bill 1998

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Bill 1998

NRS Levy Imposition Amendment Bill 1998

 

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Lee Jones
2 December 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members
and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1998

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1998.

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