Government announces review into ACMA's future

Review to report by end of 2015

The government has commissioned a review of Australia's communications regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull issued a press release this afternoon announcing the review.

The "root and branch review" will assess the objectives, "functions, structure, governance and resource base of the ACMA" to ensure that "regulatory and operating arrangements are efficient, effective and fit for purpose in the current and future communications and media environment," state a terms of reference document issued by the government.

"The rollout of the national broadband network, the introduction of digital multichannels, the widespread use of digital devices including smartphones, the growth of search engines like Google, and the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, are all combining to make communications services a more integral part of every Australian home and business," a statement issued by Turnbull's office said.

The review will consider whether any of the ACMA's current functions can be ended or performed by other agencies or industry.

The review is due to report by the end of the year. It will be conducted under the auspices of the Department of Communications, guided by a reference group (see box below).

The reference group for the review comprises: Diane Cornell, special counsel for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC); Richard Hooper CBE, former deputy chair of the UK's communications regulator OFCOM; Ross Patterson, head of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts’s competition and economic regulation practice; Johanna Plante, the chair the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN); Tony Shaw, a former chair of the ACMA's predecessor, the Australian Communications Authority; former deputy CEO for deregulation and regulatory coordination at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission; Seven West Media executive Bridget Fair; Vodafone Australia's chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd; and Fiona Cameron, the COO at Screen Australia.

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Tags Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

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