Broader reforms to be pursued as anti-siphoning list remade
The Albanese Government has remade the anti-siphoning list for a period of three years as it progresses the review of the anti-siphoning scheme as a priority in 2023.
The interim list – the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice 2023 – makes no material changes to the previous list, providing stability for industry and audiences in terms of the regulation of sports broadcast rights.
The previous anti-siphoning list was set to expire on 1 April 2023, after its original sunsetting date of 1 April 2021 was deferred by the Coalition Government. The former Government never commenced a review of the anti-siphoning scheme to address the risk of iconic events going behind the paywalls of global subscription streaming services.
The ability to access free coverage of iconic sporting events is a defining feature of the Australian media landscape.
The anti-siphoning scheme is a key mechanism for achieving this outcome, providing free-to-air broadcasters with an initial opportunity to buy the television rights to major events included on the list. However, as technologies and consumer preferences evolve, so too must the scheme.
The Albanese Government initiated a review of the anti-siphoning rules and list in October 2022, giving effect to its election commitment to do so.
A wide range of views and perspectives were aired through the public consultation process, with the key theme being the growing coverage of sporting events online and the potential extension of the scheme to streaming services, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
The Government is now moving to the next phase of the review, informed by the views of those that contributed to the consultation process.
Submissions to this process made clear the desire of stakeholders to be engaged on any proposals for substantial reform to the anti-siphoning rules or list. The Government will honour that request and undertake further consultation on specific reform proposals mid-year.
Further information about the review of the anti-siphoning scheme can be found at: https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/anti-siphoning-scheme-review
The new list can be found at: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2023L00332
Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
"Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they earn.
“The Albanese Government recognises the need for events of national importance and cultural significance to remain free of charge and accessible to the Australian public, as well as the need for certainty around the list while the review of the anti-siphoning scheme is undertaken in 2023.
“Last year, I stated that next steps in the review would be informed by the initial consultation process. It’s clear that stakeholders want and expect there to be further consultation on any specific reform proposals, so I’ll announce a further consultation round later this year.
“Review of the anti-siphoning scheme is a priority for the Government in 2023 and is being progressed as part of a broader package of reforms to support a strong and vibrant media sector.”