ITU / ACMA International Training Program 2014
Opening Remarks, 23 July 2014
Chris Chapman, Chairman
Australian Communications and Media Authority
As Chair and on behalf of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, in conjunction with the International Telecommunication Union, I would like to welcome you all to Sydney and to the 2014 ITU/ACMA International Training Program.
I trust you are all enjoying your visit to Sydney and hope you find time to enjoy some of the sights of Sydney while you are here.
We are very pleased that the ITU, through its Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, has contributed to the development of this program and is once again sponsoring this event. I would like to warmly welcome the acting Regional Director of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Mr Sameer Sharma.
The ACMA has offered an international training program to assist sister organisations in our region since 1998 and we are very happy to see the ITP continue to grow becoming now a truly regional event since being hosted by India in 2012 and the Republic of Korea in 2013.
I am delighted that this year’s ITP has attracted such a broad range of participants from government and industry bodies, representing some 25 countries from Asia, the Pacific and beyond. The program is designed to offer you the opportunity to learn, discuss, debate and exchange ideas with communications experts and professionals from Australia and abroad.
This year, the ITP has an agenda structured around the theme “Convergent Regulation through First Principles Thinking”.
This theme is very close to our hearts in the ACMA and is taken from the ACMA’s corporate Single Organising Idea – Converge through first principles thinking. This Single Organising Idea or SOI has been an important element and starting point of the ACMA transformation and captures the essence of the ACMA as an organisation into a single and unifying statement of what the organisation stands for in people’s lives.
In marketing terms, the SOI relates to the ACMA brand but, critically, it also sets the context for the organisation’s whole strategy. Used in this way it is the behavioural benchmark for everybody in the organisation. It is a catalyst for thinking, planning and action, and organisational communication. You will hear more about the ACMA’s transformation later this morning.
It has been 3 years since the ACMA last hosted the ITP and I am very excited to be able to update you about some of the work the ACMA has been doing since then by sharing some of the major activities the ACMA has undertaken over the last couple of years.
Our role in realising the digital dividend from the transition of broadcast television from analogue to digital was a standout for 2012-13. The innovative combinatorial clock auction process ran smoothly and resulted in the allocation of spectrum to the companies that valued it the most. The auction closed with nearly $2 billion raised, ensuring the availability of spectrum to meet rising demand for high-speed wireless broadband that will position the Australian telecommunications industry to deliver fast, ubiquitous and symmetrical mobile broadband connectivity to consumers and industry.
We launched our Contemporary community safeguards inquiry to take a first principles look at the framework of regulation around what people see and hear on television and radio, and whether the protections that the community expects are being maintained in line with rapid changes in society.
Our ground-breaking Citizen conversations events, held as part of this inquiry, gave individuals, as well as interested organisations, the chance to have their views heard. The inquiry’s goal was to articulate core principles that should guide the development, by the several sectors of the broadcasting industry, of their own codes around content. The practical thought leadership work in this ‘first principles’ review was brought to a successful resting point with publication of our Consolidated Report detailing the directions emerging from the inquiry, associated consultation and our very useful research findings.
In the first part of 2012–13, the ACMA agreed to register the new Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code, thereby giving consumers more effective and timely protection on issues such as ‘bill shock’, confusing mobile plans, and poor complaints-handling and customer service.
We challenged the industry to perform and promised to closely monitor that performance through audits and investigations. Consistent with this approach, the first direction to comply with the privacy clause in the new code came just a month after registration.
The ACMA was honoured to win a Silver Medal at the New York Festival’s International Television and Film Awards and a Gold Medal at the World Media Festival in Hamburg for our cybersmart drama ‘Tagged’. We highlighted to ITP attendees in 2011 our work on Tagged and I am pleased that later today we are able to showcase our recent cybersmart work called ‘Be Deadly Online’.
A year or so ago my staff put together a video distillation of the ACMA – what we are, what we stand for and what we do in that heavily textured environment. It is essentially about how the ACMA interacts with the diverse and complex Australian media and communications landscape today, but it inevitably has a future focus, a future in which an agile ACMA will be playing an important regulatory role.
I think the video is a fantastic internal piece of work and I’ll be interested to hear what you think. So, let me introduce the ACMA story but before it plays, let me also conclude by saying: I hope you enjoy your time in Sydney and have a successful ITP.