COVID-19 SERIES - ACMA RESPONSE

Below is an EXTRACT from ACMA (Nerida O’Loughlin PSM) response to ANRA Submission 21 May 2020. A full copy of the response can be accessed from ANRA Secretary.

ANRA Request for relief during COVID-19 pandemic Nerida O’Loughlin acknowledged that the ACMA recognises that some parts of the sector have been facing challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was stated that the ACMA can provide additional support to affected apparatus licensees, by allowing them to pay through instalments, or to defer their licence renewal payments for up to 12 months. The ACMA is also waiving interest charges normally associated with these arrangements. Licence Conditions The ACMA noted that the current restrictions have the potential to cause specific compliance challenges for some licensees, including in relation to travel to transmitter sites and commissioning or maintaining their infrastructure. As such, the ACMA may consider temporary and limited regulatory forbearance in relation to enforcement of breaches of the UIOLI reasonable regularity requirement on a case-by-case basis, where a demonstrable Covid-19 impact has prevented compliance.

The ACMA's expectation is that Narrowcasting obligations will continue to be met. Narrowcast Formats It was mentioned that, while it is not within the ACMA’s power to amend the format requirements for narrowcasters, it was noted that the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 does not prevent the services from providing news, weather or specific Covid-19 related information as long as they remain services with limited appeal. The Act does not exclude types of content absolutely but focuses on the ‘limited’ nature of the service. Relief Requests It was recomended that ANRA members who wish to take advantage of the licensing deferral or instalment payment arrangements should contact the ACMA on 1300 850 115 or email info@acma.gov.au. The ACMA’s Customer Service Centre remains open and staff are available to help. 21 May 2020

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