Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition
(EMC) and Radiocommunications
Joint Annual Report to Heads of
Australian and New Zealand
The purpose of this document is to report on the progress of the cooperation program
between Australia and New Zealand to harmonize regulatory frameworks for
electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and radiocommunications equipment products
(RE) under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangements (TTMRA).
Included in this document is a request for a 12 month extension to the special
exemption period for radiocommunications products. This will enable further
negotiations to take place with the objective of extending harmonization to this
A special exemption is not sought for EMC.
The TTMRA was signed by the Commonwealth and the States on 14 June 1996 and
by New Zealand on 9 July 1996.
The purpose of the TTMRA is to implement mutual recognition principles between
parties regarding the sale of goods and the registration of occupations, consistent with
the protection of public health and safety, and the environment. Its objective is to
eliminate regulatory barriers to the movement of goods and service providers between
Australia and New Zealand, promoting trade between the two countries.
In developing the TTMRA the parties recognised that in a number of areas, including
EMC and radiocommunications, there were different standards and regulatory
requirements affecting trade. Special exemptions apply in these areas to allow each
country to address the difference and to develop harmonised regulatory arrangements.
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the Ministry of Economic
Development, New Zealand (MED) have responsibility for EMC and RE matters in
their respective countries. A joint cooperation program has been operating for some
years to progress harmonization of the EMC and radiocommunications regulatory
schemes, based on a common suite of standards.
The regulatory schemes set performance requirements on electrical and electronic
products to control electromagnetic emissions and other parameters, which have
potential to interfere with radiocommunications services, or diminish their use.
Effective radiocommunications contribute significantly to the operations of industry,
commerce, safety-of-life services and the well being of the community at large.
Officials participating in the joint cooperation program are listed in Annex 1.
Both Australia and New Zealand mandate EMC and RE standards to protect the
public interest in use of the radio spectrum resource. Over a number of years the
ACA and the MED advanced a process to develop harmonized schemes which have
the following objectives:
reduce regulatory barriers to trade;
simplify compliance requirements; and
lower business compliance costs
Based on these objectives, agreement has been reached on a compliance framework
with the following features:
harmonized mandatory standards;
seamless trans-Tasman supplier registration;
recognition of product labelling regardless of whether the product is labelled in
Australia or New Zealand;
compliance documentation to be held in either Australia or New Zealand;
comparable audit and enforcement procedures across the two jurisdictions so that
neither nation becomes a favoured market for the initial supply of goods; and
comparable penalty provisions for non-compliance.
4. ELECTROMAGNETIC COMPATIBILITY (EMC)
The Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) regulatory schemes in both Australia and
New Zealand are now harmonized under the TTMRA. Products subject to the
harmonized scheme can now be supplied to both countries without additional
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) and the New Zealand Ministry of
Economic Development (MED) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 7
November 2001 that enunciated agreed principles and processes to ensure continued
alignment in EMC regulation.
As EMC harmonization has been finalized a special exemption is no longer in place.
The TTMRA harmonization effort moved from EMC to RE in late 2001. The
harmonizing of radiocommunications regulatory arrangements is complicated in some
areas by historical differences in the use of certain radiofrequency bands, and the need
to continually review and revise standards in the light of evolving technology.
Nevertheless, areas of common Australia/New Zealand radio frequency usage have
been identified and agreement has been reached on implementing regulatory
harmonization for ten classes of radio products. This accomplishment in 2002 was a
significant milestone as it set common technical requirements for products, and
prescribed common documentary requirements for demonstrating product
The 10 categories of radio products, and associated standards, so far identified for
Spread Spectrum Devices
UHF Citizen Band Radio Service
MF / HF Maritime Mobile Service
VHF Maritime Mobile Service
Aeronautical Radio Service
Emergency Position–Indicating Beacons (EPIRB’s)
Satellite Distress Beacons (SDB’s)
MF / HF Land Mobile Service
VHF Land Mobile Service
Radio Paging Service
5.1 Outstanding Issues
There are a number of outstanding issues requiring resolution under the current
Special Exemption for Radiocommunications. These issues include legislative
amendments, adoption of harmonized equipment standards, control of trade in non-
harmonized products, and processes for the ongoing maintenance of TTMRA
5.1.1 Legislative Amendments
The Australian and New Zealand radiocommunications frameworks are being revised
to give effect to the agreed harmonization of a number of RE product categories and
standards, and compliance regulatory requirements. These are expected to be
completed by April 2003.
The Australian legislative amendments involve minor changes to subordinate
legislation made under sections 162 and 182 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.
The New Zealand legislative amendments involve gazetting revised notices pursuant
to regulations made under section 134(1)(g) of the Radiocommunications Act 1989.
5.1.2 Equipment Standards
The joint Australian/New Zealand standards development process under the umbrella
of Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand is being used to support the TTMRA
in regard to RE. As a result of this work, it is expected that the ACA and MED will
have adopted a suite of joint standards by the end of 2004. A continuing Special
Exemption for RE is required until these processes are finalized.
5.1.3 Coordinating Standards Adoption Processes
The issue of coordinating the trans-Tasman standards adoption processes that give
legal effect to new standards, is a key requirement for the on-going maintenance of a
harmonized framework. It is a feature of technical regulation that from time to time
new standards and amendments to existing standards are produced and product
specific regulatory arrangements are dependent on ACA and MED licensing
requirements. The possibility of MED contributing to the ACA’s standards
development process is under discussion, however, more work is required before this
issue is resolved. The prospects are very good for a successful conclusion of this
issue by April 2004.
5.1.4 Control of Trade in Non-Harmonized Products
Further negotiations are required to arrive at mechanisms to control the trans-Tasman
flow of non-harmonized products. Discussions in this area have only recently
commenced as efforts to date have concentrated on areas of potential harmony. The
resolution of this issue is important for spectrum integrity as non-harmonized
equipment may cause interference to radiocommunications and broadcasting in both
Australia and New Zealand. It is most unlikely that this issue will be resolved before
5.1.5 Trans-Tasman frequency allocation differences
The prospects for harmonizing product types and regulatory requirements where
significant differences exist in radio spectrum usage between Australia and New
Zealand are poor. Work is continuing to define these product types with the intention
of seeking Permanent Special Exemptions.
The timetable for finalization of the Special Exemption, through either harmonization
or exemption of RE product classes, is:
April 2003 - Legislative Amendments;
April 2004 - Control of Trade in Non-Harmonized RE Products;
April 2004 – Co-ordination of RE Standards Adoption Processes; and
December 2004 – Finalized RE Harmonization and Permanent Exemptions
The Minister for Communications and Information Technology in Australia, and the
Minister of Communications in New Zealand, recommend that the Heads of
note that the EMC regulatory arrangements in Australia and New Zealand were
harmonized on 7 November 2001; and
note that radiocommunications regulatory provisions will be harmonized by
April 2003; and
note that control of trade in non-harmonized products, and co-ordination of
standards adoption processes, will be finalized by April 2004; and
note that, because of frequency allocation differences, harmonization on some
categories of radio equipment will not be possible and will likely need to be the
subject of a Permanent Exemption under the TTMRA; and
agree to a further special exemption for a period of 12 months from 30 April
2003 to achieve the greatest possible level of Trans-Tasman regulatory
harmonization in radiocommunications equipment.
LIST OF PARTICIPATING OFFICIALS
Australian Communications Authority Ministry of Economic Development
PO Box 78 PO Box 2847
BELCONNEN ACT 2616 WELLINGTON NZ
Mr Ian McAlister Mr Wayne Wedderspoon
Manager, Senior Planning Analyst
Radiocommunications Standards Radio Spectrum Planning Group
Telephone: +61-2-6219-5451 Telephone: +64-4-474-2936
Facsimile: +61-2-6219-5133 Facsimile: +64-4-499-0969
Mr Noel Higgins
Mr Peter Cunningham