We’re excited to inform you that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is currently in the process of enhancing its regulatory arrangements for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) under the Radiocommunications Act 1992. The goal is to ensure these regulations effectively address potential issues with radiocommunications and the proper functioning of equipment.
ACMA’s scope of EMC regulations covers a wide spectrum of equipment, including products with internal combustion engines, household appliances, electronic toys, lighting equipment, and information technology devices. ACMA is committed to keeping these regulations up to date, considering both the current electromagnetic environment and anticipated future developments.
Key Points of the Upcoming Changes:
🔗 Expanding Industry Standards: ACMA is exploring the expansion of industry standards that can be used to demonstrate compliance.
🚗 Vehicle Advances: ACMA is assessing the effectiveness of these regulations in the context of evolving vehicle technologies, especially the rise of electric vehicles and their associated equipment.
📊 Categorization Review: ACMA is looking into revising the categorization of devices into low, medium, and high-risk categories to better align with potential harm levels associated with specific devices.
🔍📚 Are you interested to know the background of the recent changes in ACMA’s legislation: Let’s begin by exploring the background.
In 2021, the Radiocommunications Legislation Amendment (Reform and Modernisation) Act 2020 (the Modernisation Act) introduced significant changes to the Radiocommunications Act. It granted ACMA the authority to create equipment rules under subsection 156(1) of the Act, focusing on achieving specific objectives, including ensuring electromagnetic compatibility, containing interference to radiocommunications, and preserving equipment functionality.
Under this Act, items 42 and 44 of Schedule 4 prescribed transitional arrangements, saving EMC legislative instruments like the EMC standard and EMC labelling notice. Additionally, Section 158 allows us to set equipment standards, Section 159 enables us to impose obligations or prohibitions, and Section 160 mandates compliance.
In May 2021, ACMA launched the General Equipment Rules, effective in June 2021. Since then, ACMA embarked on a progressive journey to reform and modernize radiocommunications equipment regulation. ACMA’s vision is for the General Equipment Rules to become your ‘one-stop shop’ for all radiocommunications equipment needs.
ACMA’s staged program aimed at reforming and modernizing radiocommunications equipment regulation:
Stage 1: involving the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Radiation – Human Exposure) Standard 2014 and Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Electromagnetic Radiation) Notice 2014, was successfully completed in November 2021.
Stage 2: which comprised 13 radiocommunications mandatory technical standards and the Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Devices) Notice 2014, reached completion in February 2023.
Stage 3: For stage 3, ACMA is currently in the process of considering the Radiocommunications (Electromagnetic Compatibility) Standard 2017 and Radiocommunications Labelling (Electromagnetic Compatibility) Notice 2017. The consultation phase for this stage is scheduled to commence in Q4 2023.
🚀 Stage 3: Future Changes Overview
In Stage 3 of our reform program, ACMA is focusing on the review of the EMC standard and EMC labelling notice. The goal is to consider the integration of relevant requirements into the General Equipment Rules, all while ensuring that EMC regulatory arrangements effectively address potential harms.
📋 Existing Regulatory Framework
ACMA’s current EMC regulatory framework, outlined in the Act, General Equipment Rules, EMC standard, and EMC labelling notice, covers a wide range of products, regardless of their use or design purpose, as long as they are capable of radio emission.
🚫 Prohibitions and Obligations (Part 3)
Part 3 of the General Equipment Rules outlines prohibitions and obligations, including:
- causing a radio emission to be made by a transmitter that does not comply with the EMC standard
- possessing a device that does not comply with the EMC standard
- supplying a device that does not comply with the EMC standard
📡 Definitions (Section 8)
Section 8 of the Act provides definitions for “radio emission” and “transmitter,” clarifying their scope and applicability.
🔒 Equipment Regulation (Part 5, 7, 8)
Part 5 covers prohibitions and obligations regarding labelling requirements. Part 7 allows the ACMA to issue permits for activities otherwise prohibited by the General Equipment Rules. Part 8 provides exemptions for EMC equipment regulation, covering aspects like emergency transmission and equipment possession outside Australia.
✅ Additional Exemptions
Additional exemptions apply to devices listed in Schedule 2 of the EMC labelling notice and suppliers importing devices from New Zealand compliant with New Zealand labelling legislation.
🚀 Division 4 of Part 1.4
Division 4 of Part 1.4 of the Act outlines matters to which the Act does not apply, including foreign space objects, vessels and aircraft, defence research and intelligence, special defence undertakings, and the use of devices by the ACMA.
For the latest news on Australian ACMA or EESS or MEPS or any question you may have related to Standards Regulations Testing and Certifications, please do not hesitate to contact C-PRAV