On 24 October 2018 the NSW Parliament passed the Government Telecommunications Act 2018 (Telco Act), repealing and replacing the former Government Telecommunications Act 1991.
The new Telco Act came into effect on 17 December 2018.
Why was the 1991 Telco Act amended?
The former Government Telecommunications Act 1991 was more than 25 years old. The terms and definitions it contained were outdated and it no longer reflected the environment in which the NSW Telco Authority operates today.
Additionally, the former Act did not align with the NSW Telco Authority’s current role, functions and practices. This was an important issue to resolve to allow the NSW Telco Authority the legislative framework to continue to deliver, operate and maintain critical telecommunications projects across NSW.
What are the features of the new Telco Act?
The new Telco Act is centred on five key themes:
- Modernisation: The Act uses modern terms and definitions and better reflects the NSW Telco Authority’s contemporary role; facilitates project delivery; and future-proofs operations.
- Integration: The Act provides a legislative basis to support delivery of the Critical Communications Enhancement Program.
- Protection: The Act introduces strong penalties for individuals or businesses damaging or interfering with our critical communications infrastructure.
- Clarity: The Act provides clarity to public safety agencies, government agencies, statutory authorities, commercial entities and private citizens regarding the NSW Telco Authority’s function and remit.
- Alignment: The Act now better aligns to broader NSW Government priorities including the 10-year NSW Government Operational Communications Strategy 2015 and the Premier’s Priorities.
What are the benefits of the new Telco Act?
The new Act does not change the functions or operations of the NSW Telco Authority. Rather, it better reflects the Authority’s operations and practices and supports the delivery of mission-critical operational communications services to support public safety agencies to protect lives and property, and government sector agencies to provide services to the community.
The new Act:
- Provides a clearer understanding of the Authority and its role as the expert service provider of public safety operational communications
- Promotes state-wide public safety radio network integration by enabling the seamless delivery of the CCEP, leading to reduced costs and avoiding infrastructure duplication
- Modernises the legislation and operating framework in preparing for the adoption of future technologies.