Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland also questioned if the government knew how independent it wanted ACMA to be in exercising its responsibilities, describing the review report as “modest” and of “unremarkable substance”.
As reported by iTWire, the federal government's review of the ACMA was released on Monday, making recommendations for reform of ACMA, including a more defined role of its regulatory remit at a time of “radical change” in the communications sector.
“The underlying problem was that this government never really knew why it commenced the ACMA review in the first place, and neither did stakeholders," Rowland said in response to publication of the review.
“It was genuine reform that was needed first, because that would enable the design of a regulator to better promote the objectives of principles-based legislation.
She said Labor welcomed recommendation 27 of the review as a concession that the government’s “piecemeal approach” was not delivering for the communications sector.
Rowland’s comment was a reference to the review recommendation that “to enable the communications sector to reach its full potential as an enabler of innovation and productivity, the government should commence a co-ordinated programme of regulatory reform to establish a contemporary regulatory framework".
And in another swipe at the government, Rowland said recommendation 4 of the review, which proposed the communications department be head of delegation for international spectrum policy forums, “is one example that illustrates the government’s ongoing confusion about institutional responsibilities and capabilities in spectrum management”.
“Without proper funding, spectrum reform may suffer in terms of quality and speed,” Rowland said, pointing out that the government’s last budget made no provision for preparatory work for spectrum review implementation by the ACMA.
"What is needed is an expert and properly resourced regulator,” she concluded.