Better regulatory practice initiative | ACMA

Better regulatory practice initiative

At the ACMA, we’re committed to ensuring that our performance remains fit-for-purpose and of the highest possible standard. We work to improve not only the regulatory frameworks that we operate within, but also our internal processes and procedures.

An essential element of this process is the facilitation of an open and constructive dialogue between the ACMA and our stakeholders. This helps inform our regulatory decision-making and provides us with valuable insights into where improvement may be required.

Our better regulatory practice initiative (BRPI) is a key component of this. This scheme allows the agency to embed its feedback mechanisms in a more structured and systematic way. It also implements a rolling set of priorities identified through our stakeholder engagement processes, internal review and the Regulator Performance Framework (RPF).

The 2015 version of this initiative, our ‘Continuous improvement program’, focussed on improving the effectiveness and ease of use of the ACMA’s stakeholder consultation processes, as well as introducing a restructured and redesigned annual work program.

The renaming of the continuous improvement program to the BRPI better reflects the purpose and aim of this initiative, as we focus on better, smarter, more targeted regulation to continue more transparent and meaningful dialogue with our stakeholders.

You can read about our 2015–16 BRPI achievements in our RPF 2015–16 performance assessment report. The report also highlights how our RPF self-assessment methodology is designed to inform the BRPI, and how the BRPI provides an additional mechanism from which RPF outcomes can be facilitated.

Our 2016–17 BRPI

Our 2016–17 BRPI builds upon the achievements and work identified in 2015–16. Its activities fall under the following categories:

  1. performance reporting framework
  2. timeliness of decisions
  3. regulatory reform proposals.
  4. engagement with stakeholders and transparency of decision making.

1.     Performance reporting framework

Our 2016–17 BRPI will continue to enhance our performance information through benchmarking and improvements in reporting measures. This includes:

  • the publication of corporate plan and Portfolio Budget Statement performance measures
  • a continued focus on the development of timeliness metrics for use in RPF reporting
  • the implementation of a new quality assurance framework to guide the ongoing development of the ACMA’s single point-of-contact Customer Service Centre
  • ongoing work to enhance and improve the performance and quality of information available through SPECTRA, the ACMA’s spectrum management facility.

2.     Timeliness of decisions

Enhancing the timeliness of our decision-making processes and how we communicate these to stakeholders will be a focus of the 2016–17 BRPI. This includes:

  • the publication of the annual forward work plan
  • the publication of the five-year spectrum outlook (FYSO)
  • seeking further information and feedback from our stakeholders on the timeliness of our decision-making, as well as how and when we communicate this

3.     Regulatory reform proposals

Our 2016–17 BRPI will further our efforts to drive regulatory reform that improves our operations and explores opportunities for incorporating greater industry involvement. This includes:

  • working to improve the transparency and accountability of our communication with stakeholders regarding regulatory reform opportunities
  • examining opportunities for regulatory reform as suggested by the upcoming ACMA review once it is published by the government
  • implementing numerous projects earmarked by the ACMA as contributing towards the government’s regulatory reform program.

Take a look at some of our key regulatory reform activities in 2017.

4.     Engagement with stakeholders and transparency of decision making

We’ll keep expanding our efforts to communicate and engage effectively with our stakeholders, including through:

  • better provision of information on consultations, including a timetable of upcoming consultations with stakeholders and a guide to making submissions
  • outlining our approach to evidence-informed regulation
  • publication of a consultation strategy that outlines the principles underpinning the ACMA’s approach to engagement with its stakeholders
  • consultation with stakeholders regarding the setting of our priority compliance areas for 2016–17
  • consultation with stakeholders on the FYSO
  • informing stakeholders through our forward work plan about our strategic priorities and opportunities for stakeholder engagement with our processes.

Regulatory reform activities 2017

Project name


Review of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice

In early 2017, following a review of the existing code, the ACMA registered a new Commercial Radio Code of Practice. The new code will result in streamlined complaints-handling obligations for licensees.

Review of Part 9D of the Broadcasting Services Act– Captioning

As required by Part 9D of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the ACMA conducted a review of the operation of the television captioning obligations. The review included a public consultation paper in June 2016, which attracted 24 submissions. The ACMA is required to submit a report of the review to the minister before 30 June 2017.

Review of the Telemarketing and Research Industry Standard

The ACMA registered the new Telecommunications (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard in early 2017. The revised Standard contains improved obligations about the information callers must provide to consumers about their calls, as well as reducing compliance and administrative costs for industry.

Review of licence tax arrangements for satellite services

This project reviewed tax arrangements for apparatus licence taxes for satellite and space-based services, with a particular focus on services in the Ka-band and above. The review has resulted in new tax arrangements designed to encourage more efficient use of spectrum and encourage new investment in satellite and space-based services in the Ka-band. The new taxes took effect on 5 April 2017.

Implementation of spectrum management review

The ACMA is working with the Department of Communications and the Arts as it develops new legislation aimed at removing prescriptive processes and streamlining licensing for a simpler and more flexible spectrum framework, as well as reviewing spectrum pricing to ensure consistent and transparent arrangements.

Telecommunications (Service Provider Identity Checks Prepaid Mobile Carriage Services) Determinations 2013

The ACMA is replacing this instrument in 2017. The revised version will enable mobile providers to more efficiently meet the identity-checking requirements for prepaid mobile services.

AM to FM radio conversion in selected markets

The ACMA has revised its policy to allow the conversion of AM licences to FM licences in certain regional markets. This reform will reduce operating costs for broadcasters and increase the audio quality of the service, ultimately benefiting listeners in regional areas.

Variation to Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015

The variation has reduce costs that would otherwise apply to some citizen band radio users under the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015, by deferring the need to purchase new equipment. It has also increased the ability of citizen band users to extend the range of their service through interlinking repeaters.

Your feedback

We welcome your feedback on our BRPI. Feedback can be emailed to

Last updated: 10 May 2017