On 19 August 2015, the Government introduced the
Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Primary Television
Broadcasting Service) Bill 2015 (Cth) (Bill)
The Bill seeks to amend the Broadcasting Services Act
1992 (Cth) to allow commercial and national free-to-air
broadcasters to provide their primary television services in
standard definition or high definition. Currently, free-to-air
broadcasters are required to broadcast their primary service in
In the Second Reading of the Bill, the Minister for
Communications, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull, said:
With the completion of digital switch-over and the
availability of a range of new television services, many
Australians now expect premium free-to-air programming to be
provided in high definition – especially events such as live
The bill responds to these developments and amends
the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, giving TV networks the
flexibility to broadcast the primary service in either standard or
high definition. It does not change any other existing arrangements
regarding the primary services such as captioning, Australian
content or anti-siphoning requirements.
The Bill forms part of a larger scale review of the free-to-air
digital television regulatory framework to ensure that it is
fit-for-purpose for the next wave of innovation in the media
sector. The introduction of the Bill was brought forward so that,
if passed, broadcasters will have the opportunity to broadcast this
year's AFL and NRL grand finals in high definition. Although
many free-to-air broadcasters offer high definition content on
their secondary channels, anti-siphoning legislation prevents the
major sporting events from being premiered on a secondary
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