Regulating media & communications | ACMA

Regulating media & communications

The ACMA is responsible for regulating online content, including internet and mobile phone content, and enforcing Australia's anti-spam law. The ACMA's responsibilities include:

  • promoting self-regulation and competition in the communications industry, while protecting consumers and other users
  • fostering an environment in which electronic media respect community standards and respond to audience and user needs
  • managing access to the radiofrequency spectrum
  • representing Australia 's communications interests internationally.

The ACMA’s regulatory functions are set out in Part 2, Division 2 of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005.

Broadcasting regulation

The ACMA plans the channels that radio and television services use, issues and renews licences, regulates the content of radio and television services and administers the ownership and control rules for broadcasting services.

Online content regulation

The ACMA is responsible for regulating online content (including internet and mobile content) and enforcing Australia's anti-spam law.

Telecommunications regulation

The ACMA licences Australia's telecommunications carriers and regulates fixed line and mobile telecommunications.

Radiofrequency spectrum management regulation

The ACMA plans and manages the radiofrequency spectrum in Australia. It is responsible for compliance with licensing requirements and investigating complaints of interference to services.

Effectiveness indicators

The ACMA’s effectiveness indicators include:

  • a regulatory approach that promotes benefits to end-users and contributes to efficient and competitive Australian radiocommunications and telecommunications industries
  • efficiency in the planning, allocation and use of national resources such as radiofrequency spectrum, telecommunications numbering and telecommunications infrastructure
  • containing the costs of regulation and of the ACMA’s services
  • the fostering of industry self-regulation in a way that addresses public interest considerations without imposing undue financial and administrative burdens on industry
  • expansion of industry number and type of new services made available
  • community and consumer satisfaction level of awareness and satisfaction with regulatory mechanisms to be gauged by research into community attitudes.

Regulatory plans

Australian Public Service Departments and agencies publish regulatory plans to provide business and the community with access to information about past and planned changes to Commonwealth regulation. It also makes it easier for businesses to take part in developing regulation that affects them.

Regulatory plans consist of two distinct types of entries:

  • information about changes to business regulation which occurred in the previous financial year
  • information about activities planned for the next financial year, which could lead to changes in business regulation.

‘Business regulation’ includes primary legislation, subordinate legislation, quasi-regulation or treaties which directly affect business, have a significant indirect effect on business, or restrict competition.

The ACMA’s regulatory plans are available.


Last updated: 05 November 2015