Bills Digest No. 63  1998-99 National Transmission Network Sale (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1998


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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 of Legislation
Background
Main Provisions
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

National Transmission Network Sale (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1998

Date Introduced: 25 November 1998

House: Senate

Portfolio: Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Commencement: On Royal Assent

Purpose of Legislation

This Bill amends the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983, the Radiocommunications Act 1992, and the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991.

These proposed amendments, together with those proposed in the National Transmission Network Sale Bill 1998, provide the necessary framework for the sale of Australia's National Transmission Network (NTN).

Background

The reader is referred to the background material in the Bills Digest prepared for the National Transmission Network Sale Bill 1998.

Main Provisions

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983

Clause 5 of Schedule 1 provides the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) with the following additional powers to:

  • produce, promote and present programs, or arrange or provide facilities to do so
  • transmit programs or other matter, or arrange or provide facilities to do so

Clause 6 repeals the technical services provisions of the Act. They relate to the:

  • provision of transmitting stations and technical equipment
  • transfer of assets
  • use by the corporation of satellite systems, and
  • lines for conveyance of electric current to transmitting stations.

Clause 7 provides a mechanism by which the Minister can direct the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) to conduct an investigation into the possible degradation of the quality of signal reception of the ABC. However, a person must first complain to the ABC. If no response is forthcoming within 60 days, this provision becomes operative.

Clause 8 adds an item to the list of matters, which must be included in the ABC's annual report. This extra item requires particulars of any significant changes in the transmission coverage, or transmission quality of national broadcasting services provided by the ABC.

Radio Communications Act 1992

At present, the Commonwealth, in its capacity as provider of transmission services, holds the national broadcasting service (NBS) licence under section 100 of the Radiocommunications Act to operate transmitters for the purpose of providing national broadcasting services. Following the sale of the NTN, the national broadcasters, rather than the NTN owners, will hold the licences under section 100.

Clause10 amends section 100 to provide that a NBS licence may only be held by the ABC, SBS or the Commonwealth.

Clause 13 provides that a NBS licence cannot be transferred to any person other than the ABC, SBS or the Commonwealth.

Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991

Clause 19 provides a mechanism by which the Minister can direct the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) to conduct an investigation into the possible degradation of the quality of signal reception of the SBS. However, a person must first complain to the SBS. If no response is forthcoming within 60 days, this provision becomes operative.

Clause 22 adds an item to the list of matters, which must be included in the SBS's annual report. This extra item requires particulars of any significant changes during the year in the transmission coverage, or transmission quality of national broadcasting services provided by the SBS.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ross Kilmurray
4 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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