Amateur licence conditions re-make: what’s happening?
Not a lot, yet. The Amateur Licence Conditions Determination – the LCD – will sunset on 1 October this year. For the Amateur Service to continue, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has to re-make the LCD before then.
Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH
The ACMA has quite a lot on its plate right now, with many other sunsetting regulatory instruments to be re-made, quite aside from the Spectrum Review report to be completed in conjunction with the Department of Communications early this year, and the consequent revision of the Radiocommunications Act. The Amateur LCD is not a high priority.
In response to the WIA’s submission in July last year, which set out some 24 issues concerning the Amateur LCD, the ACMA has advised that it is considering which, if any, issues may only require minor or procedural amendments that might be incorporated into the remaking process. This would enable the ACMA to remake the LCD as a new instrument before the sunset date, ensuring continuation of the Amateur Service and early certainty for all licensees.
Those remaining issues raised in the WIA submission that would mean substantive amendments are likely to necessitate a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), the ACMA has advised, and a round of formal public consultation, which would be time-consuming and unlikely to be completed before the October sunset date. The opportunity to address outstanding issues remains open and the ACMA has advised that it will write to the WIA after contemplating policy and engineering considerations.
Exactly how the re-make of the LCD will proceed is not known at this stage. Given the limited time available, the WIA anticipates that that the ACMA will renew the current LCD with minor amendments and no significant change, and then later have a review and public consultation process to consider the raft of issues raised in the WIA’s and other parties’ submissions.
As the ongoing Spectrum Review process may opt do away with apparatus, class and spectrum licensing to implement parameter-based licensing, Amateur Service regulation may change considerably, possibly providing an opportunity to consider a new instrument holistically. However, considering the time necessary to develop a new Radiocommunications Act from the ground up, this isn’t likely to emerge for a few years.
The ACMA has published on its website a list of instruments due to sunset this year, which are open for consultation currently, or where consultation has ended and the draft instruments are awaiting ACMA decision, along with instruments that have been remade as a result of consultation. See the list at this Link. The Amateur LCD is not currently on this list.
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