Review of submarine cable regulation
Report on the operation of the submarine cable protection regime
In September 2010, the ACMA presented the Minister of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, with a report on the operation of the submarine cable protection regime. The preparation of this report was a legislative requirement on the ACMA under Schedule 3A of the Telecommunications Act 1997.
On 18 November 2010, the report was tabled in parliament.
Any enquires about the report may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
Telecommunications Licensing, Numbering and Submarine Cables Section
The Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box 13112, Law Courts Melbourne Vic 8010
Submarine telecommunications cables link Australia to global communication networks and are vital to the national economy. Due to their size and location on the seabed, these cables are vulnerable to damage from activities such as the anchoring of ships, some types of fishing, dumping of materials, dredging and mineral exploration.
Under Schedule 3A to the Telecommunications Act 1997, the ACMA has the power to declare protection zones over submarine cables of national significance and to grant permits to install submarine cables in Australian waters. Schedule 3A was enacted by Parliament in 2005, and since then the ACMA has declared three protection zones and issued six permits to carriers to install submarine cables.
The ACMA is required to report to the Minister about the operation of Schedule 3A five years after its introduction. This discussion paper provides information about the legislative background for Schedule 3A, the ACMA’s operational experience with Schedule 3A to date, the administrative processes employed and outlines proposals to address some minor administrative problems with Schedule 3A.
A copy of Schedule 3A and the Explanatory Memorandum can be provided on request or downloaded from: www.acma.gov.au/subcables.
Questions have been included throughout this discussion paper to assist respondents in providing feedback on the regime. Submissions are sought in response to these or any other relevant issue. However, please note that the Explanatory Memorandum foreshadows that the scope of this review is to consider the operation of the Schedule 3A regime and not any of the declared protection zones.
Stakeholder feedback on the operation of the Schedule 3A will contribute to the ACMA’s report to the Minister. If a submission about this paper raises a matter outside the scope of the review, the ACMA may choose to deal with the issue separately and not in the report.
Copies of submissions already received in relation to proposals to address minor administrative problems with Schedule 3A to the Telecommunications Act 1997.
- Attorney-General's Department
- Australian Federal Police
- Australian Japan Cable (Australia) Limited
- Daman Koirala (REACH)
- Department of Commerce WA
- Department of Defence
- Department of Environment and Conservation WA
- Fremantle Ports
- Industry & Investment (NSW Government)
- IWCS Pty Ltd
- Kordia (1.5 mb)
- NSW Maritime
- Optus Networks Pty Ltd
- PIPE Networks
- Southern Cross Cables Ltd
- Terry Paget
Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives.
The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for confidentiality claims.
The ACMA will consider each claim for confidentiality on a case by case basis. If the ACMA accepts a confidentiality claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless required to do so by law.
When can ACMA be required by law to release information?
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another body or agency, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.