Anyone affected or potentially affected by the control provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) may apply to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) for a written opinion of how control provisions apply to them in the circumstances they have outlined.
Opinions may be requested in advance of a proposed transaction, contract, agreement or other arrangement, or to confirm your understanding of an existing situation.
For example, you may wish to know whether a commercial opportunity can be acted on in a particular set of circumstances and request an ACMA opinion about the impact of the control provisions before you proceed further.
Once the ACMA has given an opinion, the ACMA and other Commonwealth agencies will be bound by the opinion.
If the ACMA gives an opinion that you are not in a position to exercise control of a licence or newspaper then no action can be taken subsequently against you under the Act on the basis that you are in a position to exercise control of the licence or newspaper, providing that the circumstances advised to the ACMA in your application remain substantially the same.
The ACMA’s obligations
The ACMA is obliged to give you its opinion in writing as soon as practicable.
The ACMA may consider that additional information is required before an opinion can be given. If so, the ACMA must make a written request to you for that information within 30 days of receiving your application.
In any case, the ACMA must provide its opinion within 45 days of receiving your application or, if requested, the further information, or else it is taken to have agreed with your own opinion.
Request an ACMA opinion
Obtain an application form (ACMA form B15) from the ACMA.
Your completed form should be lodged by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will be sent a confirmation of receipt of your application.
Your completed form must include a statement of your own opinion as to whether the person or company about whom the opinion is sought is, or would be, in a position to exercise control of the licence, newspaper or company in question.
The ACMA has determined that a fee of $15,150 is payable for providing an opinion. The fee must be paid when the application is lodged. Cheques should be made payable to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.