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On 18 September 2017, new telecommunications sector security reforms became law and a 12 month implementation period commenced. At the end of the implementation period, carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries will have new legal obligations.

Key elements of the reforms include:

  • Security obligation: All carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries will be required to do their best to protect networks and facilities from unauthorised access and interference – including a requirement to maintain ‘competent supervision’ and ‘effective control’ over telecommunications networks and facilities owned or operated by them.
  • Notification obligation: Carriers and nominated carriage service providers will be required to notify government of planned changes to their networks and services that could compromise their ability to comply with the security obligation.
  • Information gathering power: The Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department has the power to obtain information and documents from carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries, to monitor and investigate their compliance with the security obligation.
  • Directions power: The Attorney-General has a new directions power, to direct a carrier, carriage service provider or carriage service intermediary to do, or not do, a specified thing that is reasonably necessary to protect networks and facilities from national security risks.

These reforms are important to ensure the security and resilience of Australia’s telecommunications infrastructure, as well as the social and economic wellbeing of our nation.

Industry information sessions

The Critical Infrastructure Centre is hosting a second round of information sessions in March across Australian capital cities. These sessions are an opportunity for providers to further clarify their new obligations and provide feedback.

City Date
Sydney Tuesday 20 March 2018
Melbourne Wednesday 21 March 2018
Brisbane Friday 23 March 2018
Canberra (including teleconference facilities) Tuesday 27 March 2018

Please contact cicentre@homeaffairs.gov.au as soon as possible, if you are interested in attending a session, including the teleconference, or have any other questions about these sessions.

Additional resources

The centre has prepared fact sheets and frequently asked questions in response to industry feedback following the November 2017 information sessions. These and other revised material are available to download below:

The draft administrative guidelines from November 2015 are available to download below: