Senate debates

Monday, 3 December 2018


Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 2018; In Committee

9:07 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Innovation) Share this | Hansard source

Firstly, I wish to acknowledge Senator Griff for identifying a legitimate issue in relation to this bill. We recognise the potential and incentive for mobile carriers to seek ways to extend the time limits over which a temporary facility is deployed. One aspect of the proposed amendments is that they seek to change how the time limits are applied in order to ensure that a temporary facility cannot bridge across calendar years. Labor is sympathetic to this concern, and that's one of the reasons why it sought to have a Senate inquiry. The subsequent revisions to the explanatory memorandum, advice on the operative of safeguards of the bill by way of objection mechanisms, have satisfied most of our concerns for the time being.

The primary backstop to a carrier bridging the time limit from one calendar year to another is the land notice that must be issued, to which the land owner can object. This provides a trigger point at which an opportunistic attempt by mobile carriers to bridge temporary facilities across calendar years can be blocked by the TIO. Whilst this mechanism is imperfect, Labor is prepared to be flexible and to see how it operates in practice. If the TIO observes unintended outcomes, then there is nothing that will prevent a future parliament from strengthening those safeguards. For these reasons, we're prepared to support the bill as it stands.

The proposed amendments also seek to require carriers to restore land to a condition that is equivalent to its original condition. This is a departure from the longstanding restoration language set out in schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act. We do not propose to change this approach, given the uncertainty it would create. For these reasons, Labor will not be supporting the proposed amendments, although we do, as I say, acknowledge the legitimate concerns identified by Senator Griff.


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