The ACMA thanks all those that submitted a response to the consultation paper New approaches to amateur radio qualification arrangements. All submissions received have been considered.
The ACMA will approach the market with an open tender seeking an organisation to provide services similar to the process described as ‘approach one’ in the consultation paper.
Any winning tenderer will be approved to conduct examinations and act as a delegate to issue certificates of proficiency under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, or through similar mechanisms for approving and delegating statutory functions expected to feature in new legislation that may replace the Act.
Any winning tenderer will also be required to perform other associated administrative tasks, such as recommending callsigns in accordance with an agreed template. To maintain flexibility in how exam participants choose to prepare themselves, there will be no mandatory requirement for a successful tenderer to provide training.
The ACMA will also seek to negotiate the addition of all amateur radio competencies into the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training, and is regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Early discussions have indicated that amateur radio may be best suited to the ICT Training Package component of the AQF, rather than the Electrotechnology Training Package, where an amateur radio competency based on the standard syllabus already exists.
The request for tender is expected to take place in late August–September 2018, with a contract to be in place prior to February 2019, when the current deed of agreement with the Wireless Institute of Australia is due to expire. The time frame for adding amateur radio competencies to the AQF is likely to be longer. The two pathways to attaining a recognised qualification are not mutually exclusive and may operate in tandem, providing for more choice and flexibility.
Any change to subordinate legislation required to facilitate the recognition of Australian amateur radio qualifications, other than certificates of proficiency, will require further public consultation. The timing of further public consultation is dependent on negotiating the addition of amateur radio into the AQF.