Since the establishment of the ACMA in 2005, the Australian media and communications environment has changed dramatically, and it will continue to change. New technologies are emerging into an increasingly globalised and converged landscape. Fresh players enter a market with audiences who engage with and consume media in ways unrecognisable only 10 years ago.
Changes have been accelerated by the development of new and disruptive services. These are driven by internet connectivity and the emergence of sophisticated consumer devices that bring together services and content into multiple platforms and devices, anywhere and anytime.
Such a dynamic environment presents both challenges and opportunities. As the communications and media regulator, we have a complex mandate. Some of the laws we administer predate the digital revolution. Our regulatory responsibilities continue to expand and must be met with fewer resources.
Over the reporting period, we will continue to respond to our changing environment, support new government priorities, and deliver our administrative and regulatory functions with flexibility and efficiency. Our approach to managing the challenges and risks of this dynamic and complex environment is outlined in the Risk oversight and management section of this plan.
The government is developing a new legislative and policy framework to manage the radiofrequency spectrum. We will play a substantial role in implementing and administering these new arrangements. The government is also moving forward with a range of other legislative reforms, including for ownership and control rules, licence fees and anti-siphoning. It has also announced a review of Australian content to be conducted jointly by the Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA), the ACMA and Screen Australia.
Our role and responsibilities under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 are set to expand. Proposed amendments to this Act, if passed, will give the agency new investigation and enforcement responsibilities. We will also contribute to policy review processes associated with telecommunications safeguards and universal service obligations reforms.
We expect to work closely with DoCA to implement the recommendations of the ACMA Review over 2017–18. The review, which began in 2015, found the ACMA has generally performed its role efficiently and well over the last 10 years, and confirmed the continuing need for a communications and media regulator.
Our approach to consumer safeguards, compliance and education activities allows us to target and prioritise resources. The transition to the NBN, which is changing industry dynamics and consumer access to communications services, is a focus of our consumer protection work. We will also inform the upcoming regulatory reviews in a new NBN environment, including working with industry on the review of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.
Consulting and collaborating with other regulators is also critical to achieving efficient and effective policy outcomes. The ACMA signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in December 2016 to promote cooperation and communication between the agencies, and help both to perform their roles and responsibilities. Our capacity to achieve our stated purpose is also fundamentally linked to our close collaboration and engagement with industry stakeholders. We will continue to engage with industry on our forward work program and priorities, and seek more opportunities for greater industry involvement and self-regulation.
We see the government’s RPF as an important mechanism to drive better regulatory practice and design. We will continue to ensure our regulatory decisions are informed by evidence and reflect an understanding of the contemporary communications and media environment.