Bills Digest No.
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Social Policy Section
position of non-government parties/independents
major interest groups
Compatibility with Human Rights
Date introduced: 11
Cyber Safety and the Arts
1 to 3, and Schedule 2, commence the day after Royal Assent. Schedule 1
commences on the 28th day after Royal Assent.
Links: The links to the Bill,
its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the
Bill’s home page, or through the Australian
When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent,
they become Acts, which can be found at the Federal Register of Legislation
All hyperlinks in this Bills Digest are correct as
at August 2020.
The purpose of the Broadcasting Services Amendment
(Regional Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020 (the Bill) is to amend
Services Act 1992 (the Act) to relax some elements of the local content
obligations currently placed on regional commercial radio and television
broadcast licensees by the Act.
Structure of the Bill
The Bill is divided into two Schedules.
Schedule 1 proposes to amend a limited number of local
content provisions in the Act, which currently apply to the provision of local
news and other information by regional commercial radio broadcast licensees.
Schedule 2 inserts a deeming provision into the
Act, which reduces the threshold for complying with the Australian content
multi-channel quota obligation that currently applies to commercial television
broadcasting licensees in regional and remote licence areas.
The Bill has been introduced at a moment of significant crisis
in Australian media, particularly for media businesses operating in regional areas.
That crisis has a number of dimensions, but perhaps the
most significant is the loss of advertising revenue which had previously
sustained commercial media companies, and now flows instead to companies like
Google and Facebook. This was a key finding of the Digital Platforms Inquiry,
conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which
issued its final report in July 2019. According to that report, revenue from
classified advertisements placed in Australian print media fell from $2 billion
in 2001 to $200 million in 2016.
The same report indicates that advertising revenue for broadcast media has been
more stable over the same period, but that it has declined considerably as a
proportion of total national advertising expenditure.
The loss of advertising revenue has been accelerated in 2020
by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to temporary closures of production
facilities, and cancellation or suspension of major sporting events.
The consequential impact on news production was signalled by headlines about
the closure of several country newspapers, and the suspension of print editions
for many more.
The Government announced a support package for the media
industry in April.
This included ‘red tape relief’ from content obligations for
commercial broadcasters, release of an options paper jointly developed by
Screen Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA),
and a fast-tracked public consultation process on ‘how to best support
Australian stories on our screens in a modern, multi-platform
It could be tempting to see the pandemic as the driving reason
for the introduction of this Bill, given how the plight of regional media had
been brought into sharp focus by extensive media coverage during March and
However, the Bill had already been listed as being
proposed for introduction in the 2020 Autumn sittings by the Department of the Prime
Minister and Cabinet in early February.
And indeed the Explanatory Memorandum, which summarises the package of measures
announced in April, makes it clear that ‘[t]he measure considered in this
RIS is not affected by the Government’s announcement.’
It is more appropriate to draw a direct line between the
Bill and the Government’s response to the recommendations proposed by the
ACCC in its 2019 Digital Platforms Inquiry: Final Report.
In Chapter 4 of its Report, the ACCC recommended the
Government implement a ‘harmonised media regulatory framework’
which could ensure ‘effective and consistent regulatory oversight of all
entities involved in content production or delivery in Australia, including
media businesses, publishers, broadcasters and digital platforms.’
The Government’s response included a commitment to
‘commence a staged process to reform media regulation towards an end
state of a platform-neutral regulatory framework covering both online and
offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers.’
The Government also committed to focusing during 2020 on a
consideration of ‘the extent of Australian content obligations on
free-to-air television broadcasters (including drama and children’s
content), and whether there should be Australian content obligations on
subscription video-on-demand services’.
In early 2020 the Minister outlined the Government’s
goals for 2020. He stated his expectation that the Screen Australia-ACMA
options paper would include a ‘comprehensive fact base’ on current arrangements,
including on the growth of streaming services in Australia and ‘the
impact this is having on the Australian television sector and the content
production sector, including both threats to existing business models and
opportunities to meet global demand for content from the streaming sector.’
Taken together, this Bill and the Screen Australia-ACMA
options paper for reforming Australian content rules may be seen as two steps
towards a ‘harmonised media regulatory framework’—at least in
the sense that an easing of local content requirements may help shape a
commercial environment that moves free-to-air media companies closer to the
position currently occupied by the streaming sector.
Senate Standing Committee for
Selection of Bills
The Senate Standing Committee for Selection of Bills
recommended that the Bill not be referred to committee for consideration.
Senate Standing Committee for the
Scrutiny of Bills
The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills
had no comment on the Bill.
position of non-government parties/independents
Australian Labor Party
Tim Watts, in a second reading speech given in June 2020, indicated
the Australian Labor Party will support passage of the Bill:
The bill before the House is one that the Labor Party
supports. We support it not because we believe that it will solve all problems,
and not because we believe that it will be a decisive intervention in
addressing the issues confronting regional broadcasters—regional
commercial radio broadcasters and regional television broadcasters—but
because we believe that it will provide some degree of regulatory relief, and
there is no reason for us to stand in the way of that.
The bill makes relatively minor amendments relating to local
content obligations and the Australian content transmission quota. Once again,
the government serves up regulatory housekeeping when major reform is needed.
Once again, this government is rushing a bill through the parliament when
they've been sitting on these issues for literally years. Once again, this
government dithers and delays on genuine reform when the industry is crying out
for uncertainty to end.
We won't stand in the way of relatively minor regulatory
amendments to alleviate the regulatory burden on regional broadcasters,
particularly in the face of concerns about the market failure of regional
commercial television. But we are concerned that regional Australians are
missing out as a result of this government's ongoing failure to support
regional media. Indeed, the measures in the bill don't so much make things
better for regional Australians as simply stop them getting worse. They press
At the time of writing, the Australian Greens have not
commented directly on the substance of the amendments proposed in the Bill.
They have, however, commented indirectly on the specific issue of local content
rules for Australian broadcasters.
On the same day the Government announced measures to
support commercial media businesses, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young asserted the
need for greater regulation of local content rules, including rules that oblige
streaming companies ‘to fund, invest and create Australian content or
tell Australian stories.’ She stated further:
Pressured, free-to-air broadcasters may want less obligations
to produce Australian shows and entertainment, but this would create mass job
losses and a long-term economic downturn for everyone. Watering down Australian
made content is the exact opposite of what we need right now.
In a statement issued on 11 May 2020, pitching an economic
stimulus to ‘recreate Australia’ and support the arts sector during
COVID-19, Senator Hanson-Young stated:
The decision by the Federal Government to let broadcasters
out of their local content requirements was a kick in the guts to an industry
on its knees, [and] the Arts Minister must make amends.
On 6 July 2020, Senator Hanson-Young called on the
Government to ‘rule out killing more Australian jobs by permanently
abolishing local content rules and to get on with requiring streaming giants to
produce Australian-made shows.’ She added:
Letting broadcasters out of local content requirements and
failing to immediately regulate streaming services put the jobs of every person
who works on Australian drama, documentaries and children’s TV shows from
actors, to writers, to crews at risk.
Other minor parties and independents
At the time of writing it did not appear that any other
minor parties or independent members of Parliament have commented on the Bill.
major interest groups
At the time of writing, it did not appear that any of the
key stakeholders have commented publicly on the Bill. However, the amendments
proposed in the Bill do appear to resolve some of the key concerns they have
expressed in recent public statements. Those concerns are registered here.
Commercial Radio Australia
Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) issued a statement on 15
April 2020, welcoming the Government’s relief package for Australian
media but challenging the Government to do more for commercial radio
broadcasters. In that statement the CRA indicated it had ‘opened
discussions’ with the regulator on options to ‘reduce red
[W]e are disappointed that commercial radio, as the most
hyper local of the mediums, has been largely overlooked in spite of its
continued delivery of service to the Australian community during the pandemic,
and before that, during the bushfires and the drought. Radio is an essential
service and it’s vital that we are able to continue to meet local content
and emergency broadcasting obligations. We have now opened discussions directly
with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to discuss urgent
action to reduce red tape and create a fairer playing field for Australian
radio broadcasters so we can keep meeting our obligations to listeners and the
communities we serve.
On 6 May 2020, CRA CEO Joan Warner was reported on an
industry website to have lobbied the Government on behalf of regional radio
stations for regulatory relief from current local news and content obligations
In recognition of the very real challenges being faced, the
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has to date offered to
extend the due date for reporting in 2020 and to consider regulatory
forbearance on a case by case basis for the 220 regional radio station members
of CRA. We are continuing to have discussions with both the Minister for
Communications and the ACMA to seek industry level certainty in this difficult
period. Regional broadcasters have done a tremendous job of staying on air in
the face of ad revenues falling, staff being stood down or asked to take leave,
and in many cases being required to work from home if regional studios
don’t allow the requisite social distancing. It is reasonable to expect
tolerance where stations miss their local content or news quotas by a
relatively small percentage as a result of the coronavirus. These stations have
delivered hyper local news and content for many years and will continue to do
so when the crisis has passed, but we need a commitment to a sensible and
practical level of regulatory forbearance in the interim to help us through
In a statement issued on 14 April 2020, Free TV claimed
that in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, ‘the most immediate issue is
to recognise that commercial networks will be unable to meet their Australian
quota obligations while there is no sport being broadcast and very little local
drama or reality TV being produced.’
Free TV welcomed the Government’s COVID-19 relief
package, but raised concerns about the 55% Australian content requirement
imposed on commercial television broadcast licensees.
[T]he suspension of content quotas for 2020, waiver of
spectrum fees and support for regional journalism are very positive for the
immediate pressures being experienced by the industry. However the ongoing
requirement to meet the overall 55% Australian content quota remains a concern
for the industry in an environment where there is less sport, drama and
entertainment programming available due to the suspension or cancellation of
Media, Entertainment & Arts
The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) welcomed
the announcement on 15 April 2020 of the Government’s relief package for
regional media, but did not comment specifically on the proposal to amend local
content obligations of broadcasters for 2020.
Earlier in the year, just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MEAA
called on the Government to resist calls by commercial media companies for a
relaxation of local content rules.
The Morrison Government must stand up for Australian kids and
local audiences and reject a renewed push by free to air television networks to
scrap local and children’s content requirements. Without these
requirements, Australian children could be fed a steady diet of American and
British programming and never hear their own accents on television. Seven West
Media’s reported threats to stop producing new stories for Australian
kids and audiences of all ages are a blatant bid to pressure the government to
give in to their demands to abandon local content quotas. MEAA chief executive
Paul Murphy said the content regulations were necessary to ensure Australian
stories were told on Australian screens, and must be extended to digital
platforms and streaming video on demand services like Netflix, Amazon Prime,
and Apple TV Plus.
Screen Producers Australia
Screen Producers Australia (SPA) issued a statement on 15
April 2020, expressing ‘deep concern’ about the Government’s
announcement of a suspension of Australian content quotas for 2020.
It argued the decision had the potential to ‘cripple Australia’s
production industry’ and could limit the opportunities for a rebound for
much of the sector ‘at a time when it is facing a very real battle for
The SPA also argued:
… there is a significant amount of quota content already
completed and sitting with the broadcasters (or soon to be delivered). We have
surveyed our members and determined that there is a substantial amount of
content ready to go on free-to-air television this year. A complete suspension
of the quotas in 2020 is disproportionate to the actual level of disruption to
the supply pipeline.
Furthermore, the SPA described a complete suspension as a ‘very
blunt tool’, given that some forms of production are still able to be
commissioned, including animation and documentary. They claimed that a total suspension
of commissioning activity would cancel demand for productions that would have been
crucial in keeping media workers in jobs during the shutdown. SPA suggested
instead that the Government engineer a ‘temporary averaging
flexibility’, which would give broadcasters relief for the coming year,
but which should be:
… contingent on the overall obligations being acquitted
across the coming years when production activity can return. This would ensure
demand returns to the system at levels sufficient to get the sector back on its
feet and able to pump out productions and employ large numbers of people.
The amendments proposed in the Bill are not expected to
have any financial implications, as any impact will be met from existing
Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights
As required under Part 3 of the Human Rights
(Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the
Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or
declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act.
The Government considers the Bill is compatible, stating that it reduces the
regulatory and compliance obligations placed on licensees, and as such ‘is
consistent with Article 19 of the [International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights] ICCPR by allowing licensees to focus their limited
resources on improving the quality of the local content and information
services they offer. This in turn enables better access to content relevant to
regional and remote audience’s interests.’
Parliamentary Joint Committee on
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights had no
comment on the Bill.
While the specific local content obligations placed by the
Act on commercial broadcasters are complex, the objective of the Act in this
respect is clear. It defines that objective, from the outset, as being to
‘promote the role of broadcasting services in developing and reflecting a
sense of Australian identity, character and cultural diversity’.
For radio licensees this translates into rules about broadcasting
‘material of local significance’, as per section 43C, including regular
local news, weather, community information and emergency service broadcasts.
For television broadcast licensees the objective is
achieved through a ‘transmission quota’, defined in section 121G,
which specifies an amount of time that must be allocated to ‘Australian
As already noted, the objective of the Bill is to relax
some elements of the local content obligations currently placed on regional
commercial radio and television broadcast licensees by the Act.
The key proposals are outlined below.
Local content exemption period
The Act currently grants regional radio broadcasters a
period of five weeks each year during which they are exempt from local content
obligations and minimum service standards.
The default period includes the Christmas and New Year holidays; however, the ACMA
may specify a different exemption period (either in relation to a specified
licensee or more generally) by way of legislative instrument.
Proposed section 8AE, inserted by item 4 of Schedule
1, proposes a more flexible local content exemption period, which applies
to both local content obligations and minimum service standards. The provision allows
for the exemption period to be split into two periods, equalling five weeks in
total. In addition to the ACMA’s power to specify a period (or periods)
in a legislative instrument, under the amendment a licensee has the power to
specify their own exemption period (or two periods not exceeding a total of
five weeks) by giving written notice to the ACMA.
The aim is to provide licensees with greater flexibility
in developing staffing and other arrangements for covering public holidays
other than those occurring during Christmas and New Year.
Minimum standards for news and
Items 10–14 of Schedule 1 propose to
redefine the meaning of eligible local news and weather bulletins, and to reset
minimum service standards for those bulletins.
The Act currently defines ‘eligible’ local
news and weather bulletins as broadcast ‘on at least 5 days during the week’,
and as ‘regularly scheduled’.
These definitions are then used in the current specification of minimum service
standards for both local news and weather.
This is different from the requirement in section 43C that
licensees broadcast ‘material of local significance’ during
daylight hours on ‘each business day’. In other words, while
the minimum service standard currently applies five days each week,
‘material of local significance’ need only be broadcast on days
that are not weekends or public holidays.
Items 10 and 11 amend the definitions of eligible
local news bulletins and eligible local weather bulletins,
respectively, to remove references to broadcast frequency or duration
requirements. Item 14 repeals and substitutes sections 61CD and 61CE to
amend the requirements relating to minimum service standards, including through
the introduction of new business day minimum service standards.
The proposed amendments will allow licensees to average
out their local news bulletins, counting and recording them against a weekly
minimum service standard of 62.5 minutes per week.
They will be required to broadcast local news and weather bulletins on each
Again, the intention here is to release licensees from the obligation to
broadcast on public holidays. The Explanatory Memorandum makes this clear:
This [current] definition [of news bulletin] may
frustrate the policy intent of allowing regional commercial radio broadcasting
licensees with the flexibility not to satisfy the minimum service standards on
The Bill does not substantively change the standards for
the broadcasting of other local content, including community service
announcements and emergency warnings.
Local content plans for
‘trigger event’ licensees (radio)
As noted above, existing section 43C requires regional
radio broadcast licensees to provide ‘material of local
significance’ as a condition of their licence. Material of local
significance is in turn defined by a legislative instrument:
The three ways in which a licensee may meet the obligation to
broadcast material of local significance is by broadcasting, during daytime
hours on business days, material which is ‘produced in the licence area’,
‘hosted in the licence area’ or ‘relat[ed] to the licence
The Explanatory Statement to the instrument explains that
it removed an earlier requirement, imposed by section 11 of the previous
that licensees provide written local content statements to the ACMA. Instead,
under the current instrument, licensees are required ‘to have a current
program schedule indicating ‘material of local significance’ which
will either be kept on a licensee’s website or made available on request’.
The rationale for the removal of the earlier obligation to
supply local content statements to the ACMA was ‘to reduce the compliance
cost burden for regional radio licensees while retaining the provision of local
content information for the public on when local content is broadcast by the
However, where ownership or control of a licence has
changed, Division 5C of Part 5 of the Act currently requires the licensee to
prepare and submit a detailed local content plan, for approval by the ACMA, and
imposes a range of obligations concerning the review and variation of that plan.
Item 15 of Schedule 1 proposes to amend that
obligation, and therefore to simplify the process of program content scheduling
for licence holders who have taken, or will take, control of a regional radio
Under proposed section 61CF, rather than being
required to give the ACMA a local content plan, those licensees will instead be
required to do what other licensees already do: namely, prepare and publish, or
provide on request, a local content statement which identifies the material
that will be broadcast in order to meet the minimum service standards for news
and weather. Unlike the existing provisions, there is no requirement for the ACMA
to approve the statement, and no public register of approvals. Under proposed
section 61CG, licensees will also be required to inform the ACMA about how they
will comply with minimum service standards for emergency warnings.
This clearly fits with the ‘flexibility’
agenda of the Bill, making it easier for new/changed licensees to vary their
programming at short notice, rather than be held fast to agreed arrangements, as
long as they meet the minimum service standards already described above.
Repealing the three yearly review
of local content (radio)
Item 16 of Schedule 1 proposes to repeal
section 61CT, in order to remove the need for the Minister to cause a review of
the local content obligations placed on regional radio broadcast licensees,
which is currently required at least once every three years.
The Explanatory Memorandum states that the proposal rests
on the fact that ‘Government continuously monitors and reviews the local
content framework for regional commercial radio licensees to ensure that it
remains fit for purpose’, and that industry and audience stakeholders
will ‘continue to be able to submit requests to the Government, seeking
to review aspects of the framework which may no longer be fit for purpose.’
Deemed compliance with multi-channel
content quota (television)
The Act does not currently differentiate between
metropolitan and regional broadcasters, in terms of the amount of Australian
programming that must be broadcast by a licensee. It does, however, distinguish
between obligations to provide local content on primary as opposed to multi-channel
television services. This is the distinction between, for example, the Nine
Network’s primary channel Nine and its multi-channels Gem, GO!, Life and
Subsection 121G(2) of the Act currently requires all
commercial television broadcasting licensees to ensure that the total number of
hours of Australian programs transmitted on multi-channels is ‘not less
than 1,460’ between 6am and midnight each year.
The Explanatory Memorandum explains that regional
television broadcast licensees (Prime Media Group, Southern Cross Austereo and
WIN Corp) have affiliation agreements with metropolitan television broadcasters,
from whom they source their content. It provides a detailed explanation of the commercial
challenges currently facing regional licensees:
These licensees are facing increasingly difficult advertising
markets, and continuously increasing transmission costs. Further, because of
the vast geographic areas covered by the typical licences of remote commercial
television broadcasters, there are very few population centres from which to
derive advertising revenue. This revenue from more populated areas could
normally be used by licensees to subsidise transmission costs to cover the
remainder of the licence area.
The Australian Financial Review put the situation
Regional broadcasters are highly reliant on their affiliate
partners for content, but do not necessarily broadcast all the corresponding
multi-channels. This makes it harder to comply with an hours-based quota
because metro networks spread the content requirement across more channels,
therefore reducing what each multi-channel contributes to meeting the quota.
The Explanatory Memorandum also notes that 19 per cent of all
regional licensees were not able to comply with section 121G in 2017, and goes
on to make an argument that the current situation is no longer acceptable:
Non-compliance with the multi-channel quota could result in a
breach of a licence condition. Remedies available to the ACMA for a breach of
this licence condition, assuming regulatory forbearance is no longer an option,
include accepting measures by licensees to improve compliance, accepting
enforceable undertakings, issuing remedial directions, suspending or [cancelling]
a licence. These would be significant consequences for a regional or remote
commercial television broadcasting licensee to face for actions that it may
have limited control over.
In order to remedy this situation, Schedule 2 to
the Bill proposes a system of deemed compliance. Proposed section 121H,
at item 2 of Schedule 2 will essentially allow regional licensees, by
written notice to the ACMA, to deem themselves to have complied with subsection
121G(2) if the number of hours of Australian programs they broadcast is not
less than the number of hours of Australian programs broadcast on the
corresponding metropolitan multi-channel. The ACMA must publish such a notice
on its website.
Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Digital
Platforms Inquiry: final report, ACCC, Canberra, June 2019, p. 17.
The report further states: ‘If these figures are adjusted for inflation,
the decline over the same period is from AU$3.7 billion to AU$225
advertising revenue, see C Pash, ‘Analysis:
Free-to-air television advertising in the time of the coronavirus’, AdNews,
23 March 2020. On the impact for screen producers, see H Blackiston,
audiences canned and productions paused: COVID-19 wreaks havoc on the TV
industry’, Mumbrella, 23 March 2020.
papers forced to close’, The Australian, 25 March 2020, p. 6;
A Meade, ‘News
Corp announces end of more than 100 Australian print newspapers in huge shift
to digital’, The Guardian, 28 May 2020.
Fletcher (Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts), Immediate
COVID-19 relief for Australian media as harmonisation reform process also kicks
off, media release, 15 April 2020.
Communications and Media Authority, and Screen Australia, Supporting
Australian stories on our screens: options paper, March 2020, p.
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Legislation
proposed for introduction in the 2020 Autumn sittings,
5 February 2020.
Memorandum, Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and
Other Measures) Bill 2020, p. 9.
of Australia, Regulating
in the digital age: Government response and implementation roadmap for the
Digital Platforms Inquiry, December 2019. At the same time it is
reasonable to see the pandemic as having accelerated the policy process. In the
same vein, we can note the Government’s decision to ask the ACCC, after
the onset of the pandemic, to develop a mandatory code of conduct to address
bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and media companies,
whereas previously it had announced this would be voluntary. See J Frydenberg
(Treasurer) and P Fletcher (Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts),
mandatory code of conduct to govern the commercial relationship between digital
platforms and media companies, media release, 20 April 2020.
Platforms Inquiry: final report, op. cit., p. 31.
of Australia, Regulating in the digital age, op. cit., p. 9.
Fletcher (Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts), The
harmonised framework – digital platforms and the media, speech to
the International Institute of Communications, 21 February 2020.
Standing Committee for Selection of Bills, Report,
6, 2020, The Senate, Canberra, 17 June 2020.
Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, Scrutiny
digest, 8, 2020, 17 June 2020, p. 24.
reading speech: Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and
Other Measures) Bill 2020’, House of Representatives, Debates,
16 June 2020, p. 4662.
Amazon and Apple should be backing Australian-made stories, media
release, 15 April 2020.
pitch economic stimulus package to recreate Australia, media release,
11 May 2020.
Government must rule out killing more jobs by abolishing local content rules,
media release, 6 July 2020.
Radio Australia, Radio
welcomes Government relief measures but says more action needed, media
release, 15 April 2020.
regional stations get a pass on local content quotas?’, Radioinfo, 6
TV is now a critical service - it's time to unburden it, media release,
14 April 2020.
TV welcomes immediate COVID-19 relief package, media release, 15 April
Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Regional
media offered coronavirus lifeline but long-term survival still needs help,
media release, 15 April 2020.
Government needs to stand up for Australian kids and our stories, media
release, 26 February 2020.
Producers Australia, Blunt
tool of quota suspensions threatens struggling screen industry, media
release, 15 April 2020.
Memorandum, op. cit., p. 3.
p. 5. Article 19 of the ICCPR recognises the right to freedom of opinion and
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, done in New York on 16 December
1966,  ATS 23 (entered into force for Australia (except Art. 41) on 13
November 1980; Art. 41 came into force for Australia on 28 January 1994).
Joint Committee on Human Rights, Human
rights scrutiny report, 8, 2020, 1 July 2020, p. 37.
Services Act 1992, paragraph 3(1)(e).
current exemption from local content obligations is specified in subsection
43C(1A) of the Act. The current exemption from minimum service standards is
specified in subsection 61CD(2) of the Act.
Services Act 1992, subsections 43C(1A) and 61CD(2).
paragraphs 8AE(1)(e) and (f). Further requirements for the giving of notice
to the ACMA, including that the licensee publish the notice on their website,
are set out in proposed subsections 8AE(3)–(9).
Memorandum, op. cit., para 15, p. 24.
Services Act 1992, section 61CA.
subsection 43C(1). This point is outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum, in
para 49, p. 29.
subsection 61CE(4), inserted by item 14.
subsections 61CE(1), (2), (5), (6), inserted by item 14. The
Minister may make a legislative instrument requiring a greater number of
bulletins be broadcast to satisfy the minimum business day standards—see proposed
paragraphs 61CE(2)(b) and 61CE(6)(b).
Memorandum, op cit., para 44, p. 28.
Statement, Broadcasting Services (Regional Commercial Radio –
Material of Local Significance) Licence Condition 2014. Material of local
significance is defined in section 6 of the Broadcasting Services
(Regional Commercial Radio – Material of Local Significance) Licence
Services (Regional Commercial Radio – Material of Local Significance)
Licence Condition 2012, section 11.
Statement, Broadcasting Services (Regional Commercial Radio –
Material of Local Significance) Licence Condition 2014, op. cit.
purpose of this provision, which was first inserted into the Act by the Broadcasting
Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Act 2006, has been to protect the
provision of local content to regional communities affected by such a change.
Memorandum, op cit., para 100, p. 34.
121G(4) defines targeted viewing hours as between 6am and
Memorandum, op cit., p. 10.
TV on verge of market failure’, The Australian Financial Review,
12 June 2020, p. 12.
Memorandum, op cit., pp. 10–12.
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