The first step in the Review process was a consultation on the Terms of Reference, which ended in January. In Media Access Australia’s submission, we called on the Review to ensure that people who are blind or vision impaired, or Deaf or hearing impaired, have access to convergent media. We also called on the Review to take into account progress made overseas in terms of access to convergent media.
In March 2011, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy released the final Terms of Reference for the Convergence Review.
The terms are as follows:
- In light of convergence, the Committee is to review the current policy framework for the production and delivery of media content and communications services. The Committee is to:
- develop advice for the government on the appropriate policy framework for a converged environment;
- advise on ways of achieving it, including implementation options and timeframes where appropriate; and
- advise on the potential impact of reform options on industry, consumers and the community.
- In doing so, the Committee shall have regard to all legislation and regulatory frameworks relevant to these terms of reference and, where necessary, advise the government on issues outside the purview of the Minister's portfolio responsibilities.
- In undertaking 1) above, the Committee is to inquire into and advise on the following matters:
- whether the existing regulatory objectives remain appropriate in a converging environment; and
- if so, whether the regulatory approach embodied in the current policy framework remains the most effective and efficient, and
- in light of a) and b) above, the Committee's preferred alternative regulatory or non-regulatory measures to form a new framework.
- In light of its views on a preferred policy framework for a converged environment the Committee is to advise on the principles that will underpin any new framework.
- Without limiting its scope, in conducting the review the Committee is to take into account the following policy parameters:
- the development and maintenance of a diverse, innovative, efficient and effective communications and media market that operates within an appropriately competitive environment and in the best interest of the Australian public;
- ensuring the ongoing production and distribution of local and Australian content that reflects and contributes to the development of national and cultural identity;
- the impact of policy settings on industry and government revenue;
- appropriate ways to treat content, and the services and applications used to deliver content, which are cross-border in nature;
- appropriate policy settings to:
- ensure the adequate reflection of community standards and the views and expectations of the Australian public;
- maximise transparency, choice and access for consumers to the broadest range of content across platforms, and services used to deliver content;
- the appropriate processes by which to manage spectrum allocation; and
- international responses to convergence, and Australia's international commitments.
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