AAC Digest

Government Relations update: security reform, regional telecoms, STEM

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AARNet submitted a Data Retention Implementation Plan in mid-August, which details how AARNet will meet its obligations in response to the Data Retention legislation introduced earlier this year. AARNet has also provided technical guidance to a number of customers regarding the legislation based on our participation in the Industry Working Group and related activities.

Telecoms Sector Security Reform

In June 2015 the government published exposure draft versions of the Telecoms Sector Security Reform (also known as TSSR) legislation designed to make sure that telecommunications carriers protect their infrastructure against both physical and network attacks. The draft has been widely condemned by the telecommunications industry, including by AARNet, as being “draconian”, “over reaching” and likely to stifle innovation. AARNet contributed to a formal response produced by the Communications Alliance, and we await the government response.

Regional Telecommunications

The Department of Communications is required to conduct a review into Regional Telecommunications every three years. To support our current and future regional customers (mostly universities, and schools and health facilities) AARNet provided a submission to this year’s review and recommended:

  • the NBN offer services better aligned to the requirements of government services, education, health, emergency services and businesses, within regional communities, and
  • long-distance and backhaul fibre or equivalent open access services be made available to, and along highways between regional communities either via the NBN or through investments in related infrastructure (e.g. mobile phone towers).


The Chief Scientist, through the Department of Industry, issued a discussion paper titled “Vision for a Science Nation: responding to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future”. AARNet’s response highlighted the critical need for education infrastructure to support the recommendations under the Education and Training, Research and International Engagement strategies of the paper. More specifically it recommended:

  • a national “STEM flagship” project be undertaken to engage students in big STEM – a National Schools Sensor Network was proposed.
  • a regional development program for Asian (and Pacific) NRENs be undertaken in support of an Asia Area Research Zone to enhance STEM.
  • all science centres are connected to the community of schools they serve with high-quality broadband services.
  • Long term planning be undertaken to ensure investments in international broadband capacity for education and research are aligned to Australia’s research strategies and international education objectives.

Engagements continue with a range of stakeholders across government.

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