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Security coordination

Telecommunications sector security reforms

The security and resilience of telecommunications infrastructure significantly affects the social and economic well-being of Australia, and is vital to the delivery and support of other critical infrastructure and services such as power, water and health.

The Telecommunication and Other Legislation Act 2017, known as the Telecommunication Sector Security Reforms (TSSR), amends the Telecommunications Act 1997 to establish a regulatory framework to better manage the national security risks of espionage, sabotage and foreign interference to Australia’s telecommunications networks and facilities.

TSSR commenced on 18 September 2018 and contains the following key elements:

  • Security obligation: All carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries will be required to do their best to protect networks and facilities from unauthorised access and interference – including a requirement to maintain ‘competent supervision’ and ‘effective control’ over telecommunications networks and facilities owned or operated by them.
  • Notification obligation: Carriers and nominated carriage service providers will be required to notify government of planned changes to their systems and services that could compromise their capacity to comply with the security obligation. 
  • Information gathering power: The Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs has the power to obtain information and documents from carriers, carriage service providers and carriage service intermediaries, to mon​itor and investigate their compliance with the security obligation.
  • Directions power: The Home Affairs Minister has a new directions power, to direct a carrier, carriage service provider or carriage service intermediary to do, or not do, a specified thing that is reasonably necessary to protect networks and facilities from national security risks.

For further detailed information and guidance for industry and the notification form (TSS1) for carriers and nominated carriage service providers, see the Critical Infrastructure Centre.

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 and Explanatory Memorandum are available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Annual reports: