The Morrison Government has welcomed the passage through Parliament of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Act, which will improve the operation of the broadcasting sector by simplifying regulation.
Following amendments approved in the Senate, the Act also provides community television stations in Melbourne and Adelaide with a further three years to transition to online delivery.
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said that the Act simplifies rule-making in relation to subscription television captioning arrangements, clarifies the intent of grandfathering arrangements for licence area populations made by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and extends the timeframe for ACMA to implement grants under the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.
“These measures reflect the Government’s approach to simpler, more transparent and more flexible legislation in broadcasting regulation,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The Act also contains a provision to extend the current licencing arrangements for Australia’s two remaining community television stations, Channel 31 and Channel 44, through to 30 June 2024.”
The amendments allow existing services in Melbourne and Adelaide to continue operating, but prohibit any new licences for community television services.
“This will give the two community television licensees more time to transition to online platforms,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Moving to online platforms will vacate the spectrum in time for appropriate testing, planning and transition requirements ahead of any reallocation.”