The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is responsible for monitoring and ensuring licensees comply with the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act). This page discusses the ways the ACMA can force licence holders to comply.
The ACMA takes a graduated approach to enforcement action and uses the enforcement powers available to it according to the seriousness of the breach. Generally, this involves using the minimum power or intervention necessary depending on the scale, risk and urgency of the breach.
The ACMA’s enforcement guidelines set out the matters that the ACMA takes into account in making enforcement decisions.
Enforcement actions on licence renewal
If the ACMA does not want to refuse to renew your licence, it may take alternative enforcement actions including:
- imposing an additional condition on your licence
- issuing a remedial direction under section 141 of the Act, directing you to take action to ensure compliance
- accepting an enforceable undertaking that may be offered to the ACMA by you on actions that you will take to ensure compliance
- accepting an unenforceable undertaking that the ACMA may request of you on actions that would ensure compliance.
Enforcement resulting from breach investigations
Where the ACMA has conducted an investigation and considers that enforcement action is warranted, a range of options are available.
For breaches of codes of practice:
- imposing an additional condition on a licence accepting an enforceable undertaking accepting an unenforceable undertaking.
For licence condition breaches:
- varying or revoking a licence condition, or imposing an additional licence condition
- suspending a licence for a specified period of up to three months, for example, a day, a week or a month
- cancelling a licence
- issuing a remedial direction under section 141 of the Act,
- directing a licensee to take action to ensure compliance with the licence condition and make any future breaches unlikely
- accepting an enforceable undertaking in lieu of any of the above actions.
Enforcement actions taken at licence renewal and after breach investigations are available on the ACMA website.