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Hot Issues

Past WIA Hot Issues - Now Cold

Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Apparatus Licence) Review

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) proposes to remake an important piece of regulation that affects all radiocommunications licensees holding Aparatus licences which includes radio amateurs, broadcasters, land mobile operators etc and has put out a call for feedback on its proposal.
Known as the Apparatus Licence LCD, it gives the ACMA the power to define permitted types of communications, the power flux density and field strengths allowed from a transmitter system, along with public exposure limits to RF emissions.
Want to know more ? Link

This LCD was remade in February 2015.
A copy may be downloaded here Link



EMC Awareness Campaign

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has amended the Amateur Radio regulations syllabus, to expand the demonstrated knowledge of Electromagnetic Radiation or EMR. Safety has been on ACMA's agenda for a considerable time, and it is seeking to minimise risk and promote safety across all its operations, including Amateur Radio. The process to include EMR in the existing Amateur Radio Syllabus at all three licence levels, commenced about 18 months ago and the WIA has embarked on an EMR awareness campaign with lectures provided to clubs and at WIA events.
Want to know more ? Link



Bandplan review

The WIA has commenced a review of the Australian Amateur Radio Bandplans. Bandplans are a way of trying to give everyone a fair share; an aim which becomes increasingly difficult as spectrum becomes crowded. For instance, in the case of 2-metre and 70cm repeaters on the east coast, the number of available frequencies is very limited and it has become necessary to reduce channel spacing or channel re-use distances, or both.
Want to know more ? Link

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Update : 21/2/2015
Following a lengthy period of public consultation the Bandplan changes are now released as a "Draft for Adoption". If no serious deficiencies are identified the updated Bandplans will come into effect on the 15th March, 2015. The two metre and 70cm Bandplans are also under review, and are expected to be finalised during the second half of this year. Watch out for new information on those Bandplans in the Hot Issues section of this website. The WIA would like to sincerely thank John Martin VK3KM and the entire Technical Advisory Committee for undertaking the difficult task of reviewing the Bandplans, and finding a workable solution to satisfy the various competing interests.
Want to know more ? Link

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Update : 27/05/2015
Following the adoption of revised 630 metre, 40 metre and 6 metre amateur Bandplans earlier this year, the WIA now presents new 2metre and 70cm Bandplans as a "Draft for Comment".
Want to know more ? Link

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Update : 13/06/2015
Following the initial release of the draft 2m and 70cm band plans back on the 20th of May, many members have given us feedback on the proposals which has been most welcome.
Want to know more ? Link




Repeater and Beacon Policy

Draft WIA Repeater and Beacon Policy Released
After several months of discussion between the WIA and the various stakeholders, the WIA has now released a draft Repeater and Beacon Policy. The draft policy attempts to strike a balance between the principals of good spectrum management, (the minimisation of cross-interference between repeaters), and the experimental nature of the amateur service and its inherent need for flexibility. The WIA encourages all stakeholders to review the draft policy, and forward any comments to the WIA by the 1st November, 2014. Comments should be sent via the following Link

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Update 15/12/2014
After lengthy consultation the WIA has released a new Repeater and Beacon Licence Recommendation policy.
Read more via this Link



WRC 2015 and Proposal for a new 5MHz Amateur Service Allocation

The last WRC meeting in Brisbane, the third in a series of five meetings that are being held in the Asia-pacific region, was sponsored by the ACMA with the assistance of the Australian Department of Communications. Several hundred delegates representing all areas of the radio communications industry and many national administrations attended the meeting. The two main issues of interest to Australian amateurs were: a proposed new secondary allocation for the amateur service around 5300 kHz and a proposed new primary allocation in the 77.5 to 78 GHz frequency band for the radiolocation service that may affect the existing primary amateur service allocation in that band. Dale Hughes VK1DSH
Want to know more ? Link



Radiocommunications Spectrum Review

The WIA has made a submission to the Department of Communications review into the Australian spectrum policy and management framework. The Department states the review is necessary to "modernise spectrum policy to reflect changes in technology, markets and consumer preferences that have occurred over the last decade and to better deal with increasing demand for spectrum from all sectors". The WIA submission highlights the public-benefit aspects of the amateur service and identifies key areas where amateur radio can provide further substantial community value. Additionally, the WIA submission argues for a clear delineation between policy development and policy implementation, strong community input into future spectrum policy development, and increased resources for the ACMA in relation to interference management and enforcement.
Want to know more ? Link

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UPDATE: 11 November 2014
The Minister for Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the release of the Spectrum Review - Potential Reform Directions paper for public comment. The announcement is available online at this Link

The Directions paper is available from the Department of Communications website at this Link. Link

Among the 11 potential reform proposals, of interest to the amateur radio community are:

  Introducing a single licensing framework, which does away with apparatus, class and spectrum licensing, in favour of licences being issued based on a set of parameters that cover frequency bands, power limits, licence terms and other specifications. This is otherwise known as "parameter-based licensing".

  ACMA delegation of spectrum management functions to other entities. Functions to be devolved could include licensing, fee collection, interference management and dispute resolution, among other things.

  Developing more principles-based regulation of the supply of electronic and radiocommunications devices. The idea being to increase incentives for device suppliers and users to to manage risk and resolve interference, as well as disputes in the device supply market.

  Extending enforcement measures available to the ACMA, enabling it to impose civil penalties, issue remedial directions and formal warnings to manage and control interference, along with related powers.

Feedback on the Directions paper has to be lodged with the Department of Communications by 2 December 2014.

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UPDATE: 3 December 2014
On 11 November 2014, the Minister for Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the release of the Spectrum Review Potential Reform Directions paper for public comment. The deadline for submissions was 2 December.

Despite the short timeframe, the WIA compiled a submission of more than 3000 words, addressing seven of the 11 proposals put forward in the Directions paper. These proposals were judged to be of most interest to, and likely to have particular impact on, the Australian radio amateur community.
Want to know more ? Link

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UPDATE: 22 May 2015
The long-foreshadowed Spectrum Review Report from the Department of Communications has finally seen the light of day, published on the Department's website on Friday 22 May 2015.

The report recommends replacing the Radiocommunications Act with a new Act, reforming the current licensing framework into a single licensing system and wholesale changes to spectrum management practices. Want to know more? Link

UPDATE 26 August 2015
The Australian Government will implement all the recommendations of the Spectrum Review conducted over 2014-15 by the Department of Communications together with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Want to know more? Link




Review of the ACMA

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is anticipated to change in significant ways following a review of its roles and resources, to be completed before the end of 2015.

The ACMA has regulatory responsibilities under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Telecommunications Act 1997, along with an extensive range of subordinate legislation and regulations.

The Department of Communications, which is conducting the review, will publish an issues paper shortly and call for submissions. The WIA will be responding. Want to know more? Link



Update : 5 January 2016
The Department of Communications has not yet issued a report on the review,
which was promised by end 2015.
Want to know more ? Link



Radiocommunications Spectrum Review

UPDATE: 10 March 2016

In May 2014, the Commonwealth Government announced its Spectrum Reform program, to "modernise spectrum policy to reflect changes in technology, markets and consumer preferences that have occurred over the last decade and to better deal with increasing demand for spectrum from all sectors".

The program led to a review of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) over 2014-15.

At the ACMA's RadComms 2016 Conference in Sydney over 9-10 March, at which industry leaders presented their views on where radiocommunications is at and where its heading, the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, gave a Keynote Address on March 10. In it, he announced the publication of a consultations paper outlining the Governments proposals for future planning, licensing and regulation of radiocommunications, and the roles of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Minister.

This begins the final stages of reforming radiocommunications legislation for Australia. A new Act is to be drafted following completion of consultation; the Radiocommunications Act 1992 will be repealed. Link

Over 2014-15, the WIA made the following submissions to the reform process:

  WIA makes its submission to Australian Government Spectrum Review. Link
  WIA submits comments on the Governments Potential Reform Directions paper. Link



IPS Service Review

In June 2014, a Discussion Paper was released by the Ionospheric Prediction Service as the first step in what could be a wide-ranging review of the service. The WIA has responded to the discussion paper.
Want to know more ? Link

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UPDATE : 15th December 2015
The suggested withdrawal or reduction to a user-pays commercial operation of the Ionospheric Prediction Service (IPS) has been found to be ill-advised, and it will stay as a core function of the Bureau of Meteorology.
Want to know more ? Link



3.5GHz Spectrum Review

The 9 cm amateur band at 3300-3600 MHz may be in danger of losing some segments following a review of arrangements in the 3400-3600 MHz band just announced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Want to know more ? Link

UPDATE : release 31st July 2014 Link

Media release issued 21st August 2014 by the Minister for Communications. Link

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UPDATE : 23 AUGUST 2014
The Minister for Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, has issued a draft Direction to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to enable licensing in the 3.5 GHz band for use in the National Broadband Network (NBN) around the major mainland cities. A 25 MHz block at 3400-3425 MHz and a 50 MHz block at 3492.5-3542.5 MHz, are specified in the draft Direction document. The draft Direction requires the ACMA to take all necessary steps by 30 April 2015 to be in a position to issue apparatus licences after that date, for the purposes of the NBN. The Department of Communications is seeking public comment on the Minister's draft Direction and accompanying Explanatory Statement via its website at this Link

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UPDATE : 7 SEPTEMBER 2014
As noted above, the Department of Communications has called for comments on the draft Direction to use 3.5 GHz band spectrum for the National Broadband Network spectrum gap, published in August.

The WIA has been notified that the deadline for submissions to be received is 5 pm Eastern Standard Time on Monday 22 September 2014.

Two spectrum blocks in the 9 cm band are proposed for use in the NBN's fixed wireless network, as follows:
a) from 3400 MHz up to and including 3425 MHz; and
b) from 3492.5 MHz up to and including 3542.5 MHz.

The draft Direction and an accompanying explanatory statement are available online at this Link

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UPDATE : 29 SEPTEMBER 2014

The WIA has lodged a strong submission to the Department of Communications to save loss of access to two segments of our 9 cm band a 25 MHz block at 3400-3425 MHz and a 50 MHz block at 3492.5-3542.5 MHz. Link

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UPDATE: 2 NOVEMBER 2014

On 30 October 2014, the ACMA wrote to the WIA on the outcome of consultation on future uses of the 3.5 GHz band. For the time being, amateurs use of 3400-3600 MHz will remain business as usual. Want to know more? Link

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UPDATE 19 JULY 2015

New conditions for the use of parts of the 3.3-3.6 GHz band have been set out in the re-make of the Amateur Licence Conditions Determination (LCD), published in the second week of July.
Want to know more? Link




2.3GHz Spectrum Review

The ACMA announced a proposal for the 2.3GHz spectrum which, if adopted, would remove amateur access to the 2300 - 2302 MHz segment in the 13cm band. Under the proposal, the entire spectrum 2300 - 2400MHz would be re-allocated to 20 LTE telecommunications service channels.
The WIA responded with an alternative proposal which would still allow narrow-band and EME operation in a 150kHz segment at 2300MHz. The issue is currently with the ACMA.


Update : 1st September 2014
The WIA has made a submission to the Department of Communications review into the Australian spectrum policy and management framework. The Department states the review is necessary to "modernise spectrum policy to reflect changes in technology, markets and consumer preferences that have occurred over the last decade and to better deal with increasing demand for spectrum from all sectors".

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Update : 1st August 2015
The re-making of the Amateur Licence Conditions Determination (LCD) has brought some relief from uncertainty about access to 2300-2302 MHz.
Want to know more ? Link




Page Last Updated: Monday 10 October 2016 at 6:35 hours