Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rule 1992 No. 307

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Transport and Communications

Radiocommunications Act 1983

Radiocommunications (Licensing and General) Regulations (Amendment)

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

Subsection 24A(2) of the Radcom Act prohibits the licensing of domestic paytelevision services. By Proclamation dated 22 October 1991, the Governor-General has, under subsection 24A(3) of the Act, determined that subsection 24A(2) (commonly referred to as the pay-television moratorium) will cease to apply from 1 October 1992.

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BS Act) received Royal Assent on 14 July 1992. The BS Act provides for a new licensing and regulatory regime for broadcasting services. Part 7 of the BS Act, which would provide a regime for the licensing and regulation of subscription television broadcasting services, was excised from the BS Act when it was before the Senate and was referred to a Senate Committee for consideration. The "subscription television broadcasting services" with which Part 7 is concerned are the BS Act equivalent of the "domestic paytelevision services" referred to in section 24A of the Radcom Act. The original intention was that Part 7 of the BS Act would commence on the same day that the paytelevision embargo under section 24A of the Radcom Act was lifted so that a regulatory regime would be in place for such services. This will now not be possible.

Certain parts of the radiofrequency spectrum, the use of which is licensed under the "Multipoint distribution station" (MDS) licence category (referred to Column 2 and described in Column 3 of item 66 of Schedule 1 to the Radiocommunications (Licensing and General) Regulations) can be used to provide what would amount to pay-television services.

Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 1992 (the Transitional Act) will insert a new section 92A into the Radcom Act. The Transitional Act will commence, on 5 October 1992, the date on which the substantive provisions of the BS Act has been proclaimed to commence.

Subsection 92A(1) of the Radcom Act provides that the minister may determine a price-based allocation system for granting "licences of a kind identified in the regulations".

Section 4 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 allows the making of an instrument under an Act which has been enacted but has not yet commenced. The instrument takes effect upon commencement of the relevant enactment unless the instrument is expressed to take effect at a later date.

The Minister intends to determine a price-based allocation system, pursuant to section 92A, in relation to the MDS licence category. The Minister intends to make this determination by 5 October, to enable the Minister to control the timing of the grant of further multipoint distribution station licences for new services.

The amendments insert a new regulation 12A into the Radiocommunications (Licensing and General) Regulations to provide that a multipoint distribution station licence is a licence of a kind for which the Minister may determine a price-based allocation system under section 92A of the Radcom Act.

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