Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS (LICENSING AND GENERAL) REGULATIONS (AMENDMENT) 1991 NO. 346

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Statutory Rules 1991 No. 346

Radiocommunications (Licensing and General) Regulations (Amendment)

Issued by the Authority of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Communications for and on behalf of the Minister for Transport and Communications

Subsection 93(1) of the Radiocommunications Act 1983 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make regulations for the purposes of the Act.

Section 24 of the Act provides that the Minister may grant to an applicant a licence to operate and to possess specified radiocommunications transmitters or radiocommunications transmitters included in a class of radiocommunications transmitters.

Section 23 of the Act makes it an offence to operate, or possess for the purpose of operation, a radiocommunications transmitter without a licence.

Section 22 of the Act provides that for the purposes of the Act, "radiocommunications transmitter" does not include a transmitter included in a prescribed class of transmitters. In other words, 'prescribed transmitters' are exempt from the licensing provisions of the Act.

Details of the amendments to the Radiocommunications (Licensing and General) Regulations (the Regulations) are as follows:

Regulation 2 - Regulation 2 (Interpretation)

Subregulation 2(1) of the Regulations provides for definitions of expressions used in the Regulations.

During the preparation of the amending regulations, it was discovered that the definitions of 'multipoint distribution station receiver, Class A' and 'multipoint distribution station receiver, Class B', which should have been removed consequential to amendments to the Regulations made by Statutory Rules 1987 No. 276, were not removed. Amending regulation 2 omits these definitions.

Regulation 3 - Regulation 2A (Prescribed associations or bodies for the purposes of sub-section 9(11) of the Act)

Section 9 of the Act provides that the Minister may make standards for radiocommunications devices. Subsection 9(11) of the Act provides that standards may apply, adopt or incorporate, with or without modification, any matter contained in a standard proposed or approved by a prescribed association or body, as in force or existing at a particular time.

Regulation 2A of the Regulations previously prescribed, inter alia, the Australian Telecommunications Commission (Telecom) for the purposes of subsection 9(11) of the Act. With the establishment of AUSTEL under the Telecommunications Act 1991, Telecom no longer has a standard-making power - this now rests with AUSTEL. Amending regulation 3 amends regulation 2A to omit "Australian Telecommunications Commission" and substitute it with "AUSTEL".

Also, it is proposed to make standards under section 9 adopting standards, relating to electromagnetic interference, made by the following European community and related international bodies:

       the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC):

       the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) CISPR is a semi-autonomous committee of the IEC;

       the European Committee for Standardisation; and

       the European Committee for Electro-technical Standardisation.

Amending regulation 3 also amends regulation 2A by including references to these bodies.

Regulation 4 - Regulation 6 (Prescribed classes of transmitters)

Paragraph 6(b) of the Regulations provides that, for the purposes of the definition of "radiocommunications transmitter" in section 22 of the Act, the classes of transmitters specified in Schedule 3 to the Regulations are prescribed. A new Schedule 3 is inserted by amending regulation 8.

Amending regulation 4.1 omits paragraph 6(b) from the Regulations and substitutes it with a new paragraph 6(b) to prescribe, for the purposes of section 22 of the Act, those transmitters described in the proposed new Schedule 3.

Regulation 5 - Regulation 7 (Declaration of receivers-Part VII of Act)

Section 38 of the Act provides for the licensing of radiocommunications receivers. Section 36 provides that "receiver" means a receiver declared by the regulations to be a receiver for the purposes of Part VII of the Act.

Paragraphs 7(k), (1), and (m) of the Regulations previously declared multipoint distribution station receivers (Class A), multipoint distribution station receivers (Class B) and narrowband area station receivers respectively for the purposes of section 36 of the Act -these types of receivers are used to receive Video and Audio Entertainment and Information Services (VAEIS). Experience with the regulation of VAEIS was that requiring the licensing of these types of receivers was akin to requiring the licensing of conventional radio and television broadcasting receivers, with all the practical difficulties that come with such regulation.

It became apparent that the regulation of VAEIS can achieved be more efficiently through the licensing of VAEIS transmitters only. Therefore, it is was decided that those classes of receivers referred to in paragraphs 7(k), (1) and (m) no longer be required to be licensed. Amending regulation 5.2 omits paragraphs 7(k), (1) and (m) from the Regulations.

Amending regulation 5.1 is an amendment to regulation 7 which is consequential to amending regulation 5.2.

Clause 6 - Schedule 1

Item 66 in Schedule 1 to the Regulations previously specifies a class of licence known as 'multipoint distribution station' (MDS) -the licence fee of $22,299 for this class of licence was specified at Item 66 in the Schedule to the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licences Tax) Regulations (the Licences Tax Regulations) made under the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licences Tax) Act 1983. Services provided under that class of licence had to comply with the 'Frequency Band Plan for the 2076 to 2111 MHz and 2300 to 2400 MHz Bands' (the MDS Band Plan), Statutory Rules 1988 No.181, made under section 19 of the Act.

Subclause 4(1) of the MDS Band Plan sets out 5 categories into which MDS services transmitted on the relevant bands must fall. It was decided to replace item 66 in Schedule 1 to the Regulations with two new classes of licence:

(i)       'multipoint distribution station, Class A' which is comprised of those MDS services falling into categories 1 to 3 as set out in subclause 4(1) of the MDS Band Plan

-       the licence fee for this new class is $11,150; and

(ii)       'multipoint distribution station, Class B' which is comprised of those MDS services falling into categories 4 and 5 as set out in subclause 4(1) of the MDS Band Plan

-       the licence fee for this new class is $22,299.

Amending regulation 6.1 omitted item 66 from Schedule 1 and substituted it with a new item 66 which sets out a description of both of the new classes of licence. The licence fees for these new licence classes are prescribed in amendments to the Licences Tax Regulations which accompanied these amendments.

Clause 7 - Schedule 2A

Regulation 4A of the Regulations provides for the payment of fees in respect of tests on devices conducted by the Department under section 15A of the Act. Schedule 2A to the Regulations sets out the fees payable in relation to the testing of specified devices under section 15A of the Act.

It was decided to introduce a fee of $350 for the testing, under section 15A of the Act, of all devices to which Schedule 3 to the Regulations applies. Amending regulation 7.2 inserts new Item 11 which prescribes a fee of $350 for testing devices to which Schedule 3 applies.

As the devices referred to in Item 6 of Schedule 2A are included in Schedule 3, it was decided also to delete that Item. Amending regulation 7.1 omitted Item 6 from Schedule 2A.

Regulation 8 - Schedule 3

Schedule 3 to the Regulations prescribes classes of transmitters for the purposes of the definition of "radiocommunications transmitter" in section 22 of the Act, that is, classes of transmitters which are not subject to the licensing regime of the Act. Schedule 3 identifies classes of transmitters by reference to the purpose for which the transmitters are operated as well as by reference to the permitted operating frequencies and power of those transmitters.

Schedule 3 was last amended in 1989. Since then, certain technological developments necessitated amendment to the Schedule. Amending regulation 8.1 omitted Schedule 3 and substituted it with a new Schedule 3.

Included in the new Schedule 3, at Items 1 to 17, are descriptions of transmitters by reference only to the permitted operating frequencies and field strength of those transmitters. This is intended to introduce greater flexibility in the application of the exemption from the licensing provisions of the Act and Regulations.


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