WSAA, along with the NSW and QLD Water Directorates are representing the water industry in the Department of Communications and Arts (DOCA), Powers and Immunities Reference Group (PIRG). The group comprises of peak bodies for landowners, telecommunications carriers and telecommunications regulators and it is progressing a number of items to improve the interaction between telecommunications carriers and landowners.
The group has developed preliminary agreement on options to undertake emergency and routine maintenance shutdown of carrier equipment, where agreement with the carrier is difficult or not forthcoming. The approach is to be embodied in a Carrier Code of Practice that will be overseen by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The Code of Practice will provide a clear mechanism for dispute resolution.
In the short term, the PIRG is also working on approaches to:
- Ensure the appropriate level of enforcement around engineering standards (including engineering assessments by professional registered engineers) that apply to carriers’ activities, particularly around the installation, decommissioning and removal of a telecommunications facility under Schedule 3 of the Telco Act.
- Provide a one-stop contact list of all carriers including operational contact details and escalation points when avenues of normal escalation process are exhausted.
- Develop a database of all known equipment installed on landowner assets including water storage tanks and therefore be able to identify all unknown equipment. The longer-term goal is to enable the legal shutdown of unidentifiable equipment. Currently, this is a gap in the legislation. Noting that any attempt to interfere with telecommunications equipment is currently an offence under the Criminal Code.