Carrier powers and immunities are designed to strike the
right balance between the community’s need to access reliable, affordable
telecommunications services, while ensuring that property owners, local
governments and communities have a say in the deployment of telecommunications
infrastructure that affects them.
The Australian Government is proceeding
with reforms to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities, which are
expected to lead to improved phone and internet services at affordable prices
Powers and immunities regulations allow telcos to install
and maintain network infrastructure, such as pillars and antennas, quickly and
cost-effectively. These arrangements ensure telcos can upgrade mobile coverage
and install fast broadband services without the delays imposed by protracted
development approvals processes.
The Government commenced
consultation on 24 proposed reforms in June 2017. 81 non-confidential
submissions were received from a range of stakeholders. After giving
consideration to the views of property owners, councils and other parties, the
Government has decided to proceed immediately with 10 reforms while conducting
further consultation on 11 of the remaining proposals.
After considering this feedback, the Minister for
Communications agreed to remake the Low Impact Facilities Determination and the
Telecommunications Code of Practice. The remade instruments are now available
on the Federal Register of Legislation and are referred to as the Telecommunications
(Low-impact Facilities) Determination 2018 (LIFD) and the Telecommunications
Code of Practice 2018 (Code).
The Amendments to the Telecommunications (Low-impact
Facility) Determination are as below:
The Amendments to the Telecommunications Code of Practice are
“Industry analysis has estimated that reforms to carrier
powers and immunities will deliver economic and productivity benefits to
consumers worth tens of millions of dollars per year, as well as providing
regulatory cost savings for industry and consumers,” said Minister for
Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield.
The Government will undertake further work this year with
telcos and stakeholders to address feedback regarding existing processes for
notifications and objections to works, dispute resolution arrangements,
guidance for property owners on their rights and avenues for redress, and new
arrangements for after an installation has been completed.
The Government is discussing further the other proposed
amendments as well as other issues raised in the consultation process with
stakeholders. A further update will be provided later this year.
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