Senate debates

Monday, 3 December 2018


Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill 2018; In Committee

9:14 pm

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

I move the amendment on sheet 8592 revised:

(1) Page 22 (after line 20), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 3—Further amendments

Part 1—Amendment relating to transmitter licence refunds

R adio communications Taxes Collection Act 1983

1 Paragraph 10C(2) (d)

After "transmitter licence", insert "during the financial year ending on 30 June 2017".

Part 2—Amendments relating to broadcasting licensee support payments

Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Act 2017

2 Item 40 of Schedule 6 (cell at table item 3, column headed "Company")

Repeal the cell, substitute:

3 At the end of Part 3 of Schedule 6


43 Modified operation of Part

This Part has effect in relation to Network Investments Pty Ltd (see table item 3 of the table in item 40) as if:

(a) the designated day for the financial year beginning on 1 July 2017 were the day that is 28 days after the day on which this item commences; and

(b) paragraph 39(1) (c) did not apply; and

(c) the reference to 1 November 2017 in subitem 39(2) were a reference to the day that is 28 days after the day on which this item commences.

Labor is introducing an amendment to correct a legislative issue that is preventing the payment of assistance payments to a regional broadcaster. This amendment will omit Northern Rivers Television Pty Ltd as a specified company eligible to receive a transitional support payment under part 3 of schedule 6 to the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Act 2017 and specify Network Investments Pty Ltd in its place. The amendments proposed would also ensure that Network Investments received the transitional support payment for each of the relevant financial years.

The broadcasting reform act establishes a transitional support payment scheme for specified companies. This entitles a company to transitional support if it meets certain criteria, including being the holder of a commercial television or radio broadcasting licence. Northern Rivers is specified as a company which can receive a transitional support payment if it a meets the criteria for the payment. However, on 1 June 2017 Northern Rivers transferred the commercial television broadcasting licence and assets it held to Network Investments. Under the policy, Network Investments, as the current holder of the commercial television broadcasting licence, would have been eligible for the annual payment of financial assistance. However, it is not currently specified in the broadcasting reform act. This amendment will specify Network Investments as being eligible for the payment.

This amendment was first introduced by the government in the House of Representatives in a separate bill, the Communications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation and Other Measures) Bill 2018. However, that bill has since stalled under this minister, as has much else in the Communications portfolio. The minister has been sitting on the government's communications deregulation bill for over two years. The minister has also been sitting on his regional broadband levy for nearly the same period. Frankly speaking, Labor is tired of waiting for this minister to get his act together. We've noticed delay, delay and delay. That is why Labor has introduced this amendment: to get on with the job.


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