About exemption orders and target reduction orders | ACMA

About exemption orders and target reduction orders

Where a free-to-air television broadcaster or subscription television licensee believes that meeting its captioning obligations would cause it unjustifiable hardship, it may apply to the ACMA for an exemption order or a target reduction order for a period of one to five financial years.

In deciding whether to make the exemption order or target reduction order, the ACMA carefully considers each application, using the criteria of unjustifiable hardship as specified in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA). We publish a list of current exemption orders and target reduction orders on our website.  


What are the criteria for making an exemption order or a target reduction order?

Using the criteria set out in the BSA, the ACMA can make an exemption order or a target reduction order only if it is satisfied that not making the order would cause unjustifiable hardship to the television broadcaster or licensee that applied.

In determining whether refusing to make an order would cause unjustifiable hardship to the applicant, the ACMA must consider a range of matters, including the financial circumstances of the applicant, the impact on viewers (or potential viewers) who are deaf or hearing impaired and the number of subscribers (only for subscription television services).

What are the effects of an exemption order?

 

An exemption order for a commercial or national television broadcasting service exempts the service from the basic rule during a specified period of one to five financial years. The basic rule requires commercial and national television services to caption all the programs broadcast between 6 am and midnight each day on the main channels, as well as all the news and current affairs broadcast on the main channels.

 

An exemption order for a subscription television service exempts the service from its annual captioning targets for a specified period of one to five financial years.

 

What are the effects of a target reduction order?

 

A target reduction order for a subscription television service specifies a reduced annual captioning target for the service, for a specified period of one to five financial years.

 

A target reduction order for a commercial or national television broadcasting service also specifies a reduced annual captioning target for the service for a specified period of one to five financial years. In addition, the basic rule does not apply to the service during the specified period.

 

Will there be public consultation before the ACMA makes an exemption order or target reduction order?

Before making an order, the ACMA will publish a notice and a draft of the order on the draft orders page, inviting submissions about the draft order within 30 days after the notice is published. The ACMA considers the submissions received within the 30-day period before making a final decision.

How does a broadcaster or licensee apply for an exemption order or target reduction order?

Free-to-air television broadcasters or subscription television licensees may lodge applications for exemption orders and target reduction orders with the ACMA:

  • in the financial year preceding the first exempt year applied for; or
  • between 1 July and 31 March in the first exempt year applied for.    

Links to the application forms are provided in the following table.

Free-to-air or subscription

Type of form

Free-to-air broadcaster

Exemption order application form (ACMA CAP01) and guidance notes

Free-to-air broadcaster

Target reduction order application form (ACMA CAP03) and guidance notes

Subscription television licensee

Exemption order application form (ACMA CAP02) and guidance notes

Subscription television licensee

Target reduction order application form (ACMA CAP04) and guidance notes

 

When will the ACMA make a decision on an application?

 

The ACMA is required to make a decision on whether to make an exemption order or target reduction order within 90 days after receiving an application for the order. If the ACMA does not make a decision on the application within the 90 days, the ACMA is taken to have refused to make the order.

 

Last updated: 13 June 2018