Information media and telecommunications industry fact sheet
This fact sheet provides an overview of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the information media and telecommunications industry includes businesses involved in:
- newspaper, magazine, book, and directory publishing
- software publishing
- motion picture and sound recording publishing and distribution
- radio and television broadcasting
- internet publishing and broadcasting
- telecommunication services, internet service providers & web search portals
- data processing, web hosting and electronic information storage services
- library and other information services.
As well as the information in this factsheet, you should check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business advisor.
See our topics on this page for detailed information on the information media & telecommunications industry:
- Key legislation & initiatives
- Licences & permits
- Finance & tax
- Levies & charges
- Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)
- Intellectual Property (IP)
- Industry training
- Key government organisations & websites
- Key advisors
- Industry groups
- Useful topics.
Industry research is an important part of planning for your business. It may uncover economic and industry trends, establish or improve your business and help you keep pace with your industry.
Key government sources for industry specific statistics on the information media & telecommunications industry include:
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) The ABS provide various statistics on the information media and telecommunications industry including specific statistics on:
- Department of Communications Statistics, analysis and reviews related to the information media and telecommunications industry can be found on the publications section of the Department of Communications website.
- Department of Industry, Innovation and Science The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science publishes data on performance, policy and emerging issues and opportunities for several industries.
- Screen Australia Screen Australia provides comprehensive statistics on the production and release of screen content in Australia. In particular, they capture statistics on audiences, audio-visual markets, employment and how Australia compares with other countries.
Legislation often plays a large part in how you run your business, so it’s important to be aware of the laws that apply to your industry. Key legislation that may affect businesses in the information media & telecommunications industry includes:
- Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, unfair practices)
- Australian Consumer Law (ACL)
- Copyright Act 1968
- Broadcasting Services Act 1992
- Radiocommunications Act 1992
- Telecommunications Act 1997
- Radio Licence Fees Act 1964
- Television Licence Fees Act 1964
- Do Not Call Register Act 2006
- Spam Act 2003
- Privacy Act 1988
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992: World Wide Web Access
- Interactive Gambling Act 2001
- Public Lending Right Act 1985
- Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.
Schemes, standards and codes
- National Classification Scheme
- Broadcasting codes & schemes
- Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code.
See the Policy and Legislation page on the Department of Communications website for a more comprehensive list of policy and legislation that affect the information media and telecommunications industry.
You can have your say on government policy and regulation affecting the future of your industry by registering on the Business consultation website.
Licences and permits specific to the information media and telecommunications industry include:
- television licence
- radio licence
- commercial filming licencing
- broadcast of copyright material
- filming and photography permits.
Search the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website to find out what licences and permits you need for your industry.
If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia’s national workplace laws and the specific requirements in your industry:
- Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website for awards specific to your industry.
- See further information on employment rights and obligations.
There are a number of finance and tax measures specific to the information media and telecommunications industry including the Producer Offset, which is a tax offset for the producers of Australian feature films, television and other projects.
To find more finance and tax guidance, take a look at:
- the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website for to find out more about tax measures such as offsets, rebates, deductions and income, depreciation and disaster assistance.
- our general taxation information
- more detailed information on how to manage your finances.
Levies and charges are used to fund activities such as providing accessibility for the public to telecommunication and broadcast services, delivery of the emergency call services, and research and development of telecommunication and broadcast technologies.
The main levies that apply to the information media and telecommunications industry include telecommunications carrier levies and charges, broadcast licensing fees, and equipment licensing. Visit the ACMA website for more information on levies and charges for the industry.
Limited grants are available for the information media and telecommunications industry. Grants are largely state specific and aim to assist with the development of the industry in areas where there is a shortage, such as the Public lending rights scheme is available to eligible Australian authors and publishers in recognition of lost income from the availability of their books in educational libraries.
Search Grants & Assistance to find more grants and assistance programs for the information media & telecommunications industry.
As well as the general occupational health and safety regulations, there are also some state-specific WHS requirements relevant to the information media & telecommunications industry, including:
- radiofrequency radiation exposure
- working with electricity
- working at height
- manual handling
- noise and vibration
- plant and machinery.
Need help understanding your WHS obligations? Try these government resources:
- For industry specific WHS information, see the Safe Work Australia website.
- For details on your general health and safety obligations, visit Workplace Health and Safety.
- For state specific occupational health and safety information, see your state or territory workplace health and safety agency.
As well as compulsory insurance such as workers compensation, there are also a number of specific insurance options available for businesses in the information media and telecommunications industry. Insurance options vary depending on your business type but can include insurance for:
- filming and media equipment
- printing machinery
- information technology equipment and software
- radio equipment
- property and buildings
- professional indemnity
- business interruption.
Visit Insurance and workers' compensation for details on general insurance options for business.
As well as trade marks, there are other IP rights that may be relevant to businesses in the information media & telecommunications industry:
- Copyright – copyright protection is free and automatic in Australia and protects works such as films, music, books, magazines, newspapers, sound recordings & artwork.
- Licence to play, use or reproduce film, sound or video recordings. To obtain a licence, visit the APRA – AMCOS website.
- Patents - Protects inventions such as new machinery, new systems, new technology or processes.
- Registered designs - Protects unique product designs such as packaging or the look and feel of a product.
IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks and designs. Visit the IP Australia website to find out more about your IP options.
Industry training can be an important part of your business survival. New technologies and media trends can have an impact on the way you run your business. For more information. Need some help getting started?
- See Training for tips on training yourself and your staff.
- Search Events to find government events, seminars, training courses and workshops.
While businesses in the information media and telecommunications industry do not rely heavily on the environment, they can still have a significant impact. The main environmental issues that businesses in the information media and telecommunications industry should be aware of include:
- resources used in products
- environmental impact of telecommunication sites and facilities
- post-consumer waste
- waste management and reduction.
Visit our Environmental management topic for advice on how you can manage your impact on the environment.
The key federal government agencies and websites relevant to the information media & telecommunications industry include:
- Department of Communications
- Australian Communications and Media Authority
- National Film and Sound Archive
- Screen Australia
- Attorney-General’s Department
- Classification Board
- Classification Review Board
- Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
Business advisers can be a valuable tool when establishing and developing your business in your industry. Search Advisory Services to find one near you.
You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.
Information that may be particularly relevant to the information media & telecommunications industry include:
See something not quite right? Let us know on our contact us page.