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A changed department

In September 2015, we welcomed the Arts Division and classification and copyright functions into the Department. We became the Department of Communications and the Arts.

We established a dedicated branch to focus on regional communications to better support delivery of communications programs and services to regional Australia.

National Broadband Network

At the end of 2015–16, NBN connections were available for 25 per cent of Australian homes and businesses, up from 10 per cent a year earlier.

The first of two Sky Muster satellites was launched during 2015–16 extending access to high-speed broadband for Australians living and working in regional and remote areas.

The rollout of the NBN in regional Australia is progressing well, with 22 per cent of the fixed line rollout complete for existing regional premises compared to 16 per cent in metropolitan areas.

25%of Australian homes and businesses have available NBN connections

Map of Australia made up of dots with lines representing connections to the NBNSatalite orbiting Australia mapSatalite orbiting Australia map

Mobile Black Spot Program

The Government has committed a total of $220 million over three funding rounds towards the Mobile Black Spot Program.

There were 56 new or improved base stations operational at the end of June 2016, with a total of 499 to be delivered over a three-year period under round 1 of the program.

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56new or improved base stations operational

499to be delivered under round 1

Protecting Australia‘s movable cultural heritage

We supported the independent review of the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 that protects Australia’s cultural heritage. The Government has accepted the principles of the review.

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The new Catalyst – Australian Arts and Culture Fund was launched in November 2015 to provide funding for innovative projects and initiatives from arts and cultural organisations. In 2015–16, 125 projects were approved for Catalyst funding, delivering funding of over $23 million over four years. Small-to-medium arts organisations received more than 69 per cent of Catalyst funding.

Of all arts and culture activities funded through Catalyst, 38 per cent will take place in major cities, 29 per cent in regional locations, nine per cent in remote or very remote locations and 24 per cent in international locations.

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38%Major cities

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38%Regional & Remote

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Spectrum is a critical enabler of Australia’s current and future communications infrastructure. As demand for spectrum grows, Australia’s regulatory framework must be responsive to emerging technologies and services and ensure that competing spectrum priorities are effectively managed.

In 2015–16 we commenced reform of Australia’s spectrum management framework to reduce the regulatory burden on spectrum users and to ensure Australia is able to meet future demands on spectrum.

Image representing the conversion of tangled disorderly spectrum into orderly maintainable spectrum

Media Reform

We worked with the Government to introduce legislation to amend the control and ownership rules under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to update our media laws in light of market and technological change in the broadcasting sector.

This reform package, to be re-introduced to Parliament, is designed to enhance the amount of local TV content in regional Australia and provide an incentive for local content to be filmed in the local area.

A TV with a picture of Australia on it with broadcasting waves coming out from the TV antenna

This reform package, to be re-introduced to Parliament, is designed to enhance the amount of local TV content in regional Australia and provide an incentive for local content to be filmed in the local area.

The Marrakesh Treaty

We led Australia’s efforts to have the Marrakesh Treaty ratified. This international treaty mandates exceptions to copyright law so people with a vision impairment can enjoy more books in Braille, large-print and audio formats.

Our efforts involved working closely with other Australian Government agencies, disability organisations and copyright holders.

Document with a tick on it
Braille representation for the letter C (a reference to copyright)
The letter 'A' with an arrow next to it representing large print
Speaker with sound waves coming out of it

New ways to classify computer games

We ran a pilot of an online tool that allows game developers to submit their online, mobile and downloadable computer games for assessment against classification requirements.

This has resulted in more than 450,000 games being classified – games which would not otherwise have had ratings information available for Australian consumers.

450,000games being classified