The NSW Parliament recently passed the Government Telecommunications Act 2018 (Telco Act), repealing and replacing the former Government Telecommunications Act 1991.
A legislative review identified that the terms and conditions of the 1991 Act no longer reflected the environment in which the NSW Telco Authority operates, now and into the future. The review also included two rounds of consultation leading to the development of a new draft Bill, which was tabled in Parliament in October.
The new Telco Act is centred on five key themes:
- Modernisation: The Act uses modern terms and definitions and better reflects the Authority’s contemporary role; facilitates project delivery; and future-proofs operations.
- Integration: The Act provides a legislative basis to support delivery of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program.
- Protection: The Act introduces strong penalties for individuals or businesses damaging or interfering with our critical communications infrastructure, and establishes provision for reasonable compensation to the NSW Government for any such damage.
- Clarity: The Act provides clarity to public safety agencies, government agencies, statutory authorities, commercial entities and private citizens regarding the Authority’s function and remit.
- Alignment: The Act now better aligns to broader NSW Government priorities including the 10- year Operational Communications Strategy 2015 and the Premier’s Priorities.
The new Act will be proclaimed at a future date and the Authority will advise of its commencement in due course.