Incoming communications minister Paul Fletcher has told industry newsletter Communications Day that he “will not restart the stalled spectrum reform process until he is satisfied that the proposed new regime will provide superior benefits to the system it replaces.”
One of Fletcher’s predecessors in the portfolio, Malcolm Turnbull, announced the review of Australia’s spectrum policy and management framework way back in May 2014. In 2015, a departmental reportfound there were “substantial deficiencies” with Australia’s twenty-year-old regime, which was described as “slow, rigid and administratively cumbersome.” Two years later, an exposure draft of a new Radiocommunications Bill was released.
Then things more or less ground to a halt. A major reform process, in an area of government policy usually notable for a high level of political bipartisanship, was apparently stuck in limbo. Does that matter? And what is wrong with the current laws anyway?