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FOR – Bills — Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-Siphoning) Bill 2023; Consideration in Detail

Kylea Tink

by leave—I move amendments (1) and (2) on the sheet revised 13 May 2024, as circulated in my name, together:

(1) Schedule 1, item 1, page 17 (line 14), omit "18 months", substitute "12 months".

(2) Schedule 1, item 24, page 24 (line 7), omit "18 months", substitute "12 months".

The amendments I'm moving today would shorten the timeframe for the prominence provisions to come into effect to 12 months after the bill passes. As the bill currently stands, manufacturers would have an 18-month transition period, after which they would be required to ensure that their prominence obligations have been met. Having reviewed the views of many stakeholders, the submissions made to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee and the recommendations of that committee, I believe it is both appropriate and feasible to fast-track the prominence provisions. Specifically, the Senate committee, after thoroughly examining this legislation, recommended:

… that the Minister for Communications and the Australian Communications and Media Authority consider options for a phased approach to the proposed prominence framework and or a reduction to a 12-month timeframe.

Manufacturers have been aware of the proposed prominence obligations for some time now, giving them time to consider necessary preparations. Additionally, many of the changes necessary to meet the prominence provisions are controlled by software rather than hardware. So, while many of the manufacturers will be meeting the needs of the global marketplace, the truth is that the software is tailored to where the device is landing. As we all know, software updates happen at a sometimes frightening and frequent pace.

During the Senate inquiry into this bill, experts made it clear that many of the changes required could be made, effectively, overnight through a server update. In fact, some experts have suggested that the prominence requirements for manufacturers could be implemented within six months—six months sooner than the amendment that I am moving actually proposes. But, given the Senate committee's recommendation and given everything that I have heard, my amendments propose that the timeframe be shortened from 18 months to 12 months, because the truth is this: for every month that we delay, we risk Australians paying for content that is actually otherwise available to them free of charge because we simply don't have the prominence framework right in this nation.

Michelle Rowland

I thank the member for North Sydney for her amendments and for her interest and engagement in these matters. I note that the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee recommended that the government consider options for a phased approach to the proposed prominence framework and/or a reduction to a 12-month timeframe. I have given this recommendation close consideration. I remain of the view that the 18-month period in the bill strikes a balance between a range of factors. Firstly, the prominence framework is novel, and an 18-month implementation timeframe is a prudent approach to the commencement of any new regulations. Secondly, the bill interacts with global manufacturing and distribution supply chains, with long lead times involved in the design, development, manufacture and distribution of devices. Manufacturers need a reasonable timeframe to adjust to the new framework. Thirdly, there needs to be a realistic period of time for the regulator, the ACMA, to establish the operative and detailed elements of the framework. This market is evolving rapidly, and connected TV devices are not homogenous. For these reasons, the government will oppose this amendment.

Milton Dick

The question before the House is that the amendments moved by the honourable member for North Sydney be agreed to.

Summary

Date and time: 5:39 PM on 2024-05-14
Allegra Spender's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 13
Total number of "no" votes: 61
Total number of abstentions: 77
Related bill: Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2023

Adapted from information made available by theyvoteforyou.org.au

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