Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has promised the Government will execute a major review of regulatory systems, but said most policies will remain the same.
The Minister made the comments during a speech at an Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) event. He said a long term digital economy strategy would be released by the end of the year.
The strategy will focus on online security and safety issues, pushing for more e-commerce and payment options, encouraging online educational resources and boosting telehealth.
But in the telecommunications arena, Conroy promised more of the same and claimed his current reforms represented major and necessary changes.
“We have introduced historic reforms of the telecommunications sector addressing more than two decades of policy failure across both political parties,” he said. “This failure has left Australians with some of the most expensive and least efficient services in the world.
“The successful implementation of [current] projects does require a little bit of ongoing work… the infrastructure we are building will transform the economy and we need to be in a position to capitalise on the opportunity this presents.
With Conroy releasing the National Broadband Network’s footprint tomorrow, every Australian will be able to find out the method through which they’d connect to the NBN. The move is set to target the Coalition’s lack of policy and move the NBN to the front of the news agenda.
“Communications policy is a key point of difference between the Labor Government and the Tony Abbott Liberal alternative,” he said. “The NBN is crucial economic infrastructure… the Gillard Government is investing in the foundations of transformation to the digital economy so that Australia can benefit.”
Conroy also pledged that another term of Labor Government would bring a major overhaul of television regulatory reform, with keeping local content at its heart.
“The Labor Government will move to commence a comprehensive review of communications regulations,” he said. “This type of review will consider all media platforms including free TV, subscriptions, view on demand, IPTV and mobile TV.
The Minister criticised the current distribution of technology issues through various portfolios and promised to “take the bureaucracy on” and bring them closer together. But he did not provide a timetable or method of how this would occur.
“I share your frustration,” he said. “I know the industry has been calling for there to be a consolidation and I think that’s a very, very positive thing.
“My next great challenge is to convince the bureaucrats to work in a much closer way to deliver the Government’s messages, policies and services.”