Narrowcasting amendments | ACMA

Narrowcasting amendments

Issue for comment 34/2013 – 28 November 2013

The ACMA is consulting on proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications (Issue of Broadcasting (Narrowcasting) Transmitter Licences) Determination No. 1 of 1996 (the determination) to facilitate the issue of high powered open narrowcasting (HPON) transmitter licences.

The ACMA intends that the proposed amendments to the determination would be reflected in a new legislative instrument and be made before the determination’s sunset date—1 October 2015. The draft determination sets out how HPON transmitter licences will be allocated by a price-based allocation system, namely an auction. The proposed changes seek to improve the efficiency of the allocation process. A consultation paper outlining the proposed amendments and the draft determination are now available.


Submissions are invited from interested parties by Friday 15 January 2014. They can be sent to


The Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (LIA) provides a regime for the automatic repeal of regulations and other legislative instruments after 10 years, unless action is taken to exempt them. This process is referred to as sunsetting. To preserve the effect of an instrument it needs to be remade before the sunset date. Sunsetting ensures that legislative instruments are kept up-to-date and only remain in force as long as they are needed (see section 49 of the LIA).

Under Part 6 of the LIA, all legislative instruments will be repealed automatically on the first 1 April or 1 October on or after the 10th anniversary of registration of the instrument, unless an exemption is in place. Under subsection 54(2) of the LIA, certain classes of legislative instruments are exempt from the sunsetting provisions.

Under section 50 of the LIA, the sunsetting instrument will be repealed and cease to be in force on the day it sunsets. Repeal does not undo the past effect of the instrument. 

All government organisations are responsible for administering the legislative instruments due to sunset to determine whether the instrument will be required after its sunset date.

Among the legislative instruments made by the ACMA due to sunset in the near future is the determination, made under section 106 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. The determination provides for the allocation by auction of specified transmitter licences for HPON services, which have been planned in a licence area plan (LAP).

There is an ongoing requirement for the determination, as new HPON services may be planned in LAPs. Therefore, the ACMA is proposing to remake it under the new name of the Radiocommunications (Allocation of Transmitter Licences – High Powered Open Narrowcasting Licences) Determination 2013 (the HPON Determination), with some minor amendments.

The proposed new HPON Determination details the procedures that will be used to allocate the licences. This includes the requirements and responsibilities of both applicants and the ACMA throughout all stages of the allocation process. The minor amendments seek to streamline the allocation process and are detailed in the consultation paper. 

Effective consultation

The ACMA is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultation processes, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory development activities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, written consultation processes, it has developed the following guide: Effective consultation: A guide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA’s formal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make a submission.

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 the claim. The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.

Release of submissions where authorised or required by law

Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Commonwealth government agencies and certain other parties under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. 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, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.


Last updated: 03 October 2016