Is your two-way radio an outlaw? | ACMA

Is your two-way radio an outlaw?

PCA twowayradio cupcake-02 jpg

Two-way radios can be found on most construction sites around Australia. The vital communications they provide help keep you and your workers safe. As an employer, you should ensure that your radios are legally operated. By doing this you could stop a serious workplace accident or even save someone’s life.

Check out our handy infographic and keep reading for more info.

twowayradio-infograhic jpg

Download a printable version of the infographic (PDF 672 KB)

Download an accessible Word version of the infographic ( Word 18 KB)

Under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act), every radiocommunications device must be authorised for operation by a spectrum licence, an apparatus licence, or a class licence.

A two-way radio must be authorised to be operated under:

So, no matter how you intend to buy your two-way radios, you must have the necessary licensing requirements sorted when you are purchasing or renting two-way radios. It’s the law!

Communication companies who supply two-way radios for use on worksites will often have pre-programmed frequencies into these radios. These frequencies are generally licensed to that supplier and cannot be operated under any class licence issued by us. If you bought or rented a two-way radio with the frequencies pre-programmed and you intend to rely on the supplier’s licence to operate that radio, then you must have the supplier’s written authorisation. This can even be in the form of an invoice or rental agreement.

As part of your agreement, the supplier should disclose the following information (including but not limited to):

  • the frequencies that you’re allowed to use
  • the duration of the authorisation
  • the location that you’re allowed to operate in
  • any other licence conditions that must be met.

It’s your responsibility to understand and meet the restrictions of the licence you’re operating the two-radio under. Otherwise you run the risk of operating a two-way radio in a manner that is not authorised by the licence.

The consequences for operating an unlicensed two-way radio may be serious. This is because there is a range of civil and criminal penalties under the Act that could apply in relation to the operation of an unlicensed radiocommunications device, or possessing an unlicensed radiocommunications device. You may also be subject to civil liability or litigation from a third-party where your possession or operation of the unlicensed two-way radio causes loss or interferes with that party’s radio or a radiocommunications service.

There is also a risk that another radiocommunications service could interfere with that two-way radio, meaning your two-way radio might not always work the way you want. This can also affect safety on worksites.

You could also interfere with someone else’s radio or another radiocommunications service. This could significantly impact their operations.

If you don’t know the details, don’t risk it. Check with the company or person who issued your two-way radio. If you’re still unsure, contact us on 1300 850 115 or

Disclaimer: this is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Independent legal advice pertaining to your individual circumstances should be sought where required or appropriate.

Last updated: 15 March 2017