On the 21st June 2023, the ACMA held an online Microsoft Teams briefing session for AMC Assessors.
The following key messages were reported and discussed:
- ACMA reconfirmed that the Australian Maritime College (AMC) will not be renewing its arrangements for delivering Amateur Radio Examination and Callsign Administrations Services
- ACMA is planning for a smooth transition of services from AMC in February 2024 and is reliant upon the generous volunteer contributions and continues to be very open to input from the AR community.
- There will be a new legislative framework created for Amateur Radio examinations.
- ACMA will introduce a new Assessor accreditation process to align with Commonwealth Government guidelines.
- New volunteers will need to satisfy all requirements of the new ACMA Assessor accreditation process.
- Existing AMC Authorised Assessors will automatically transfer across to the ACMA and be governed by the new process and regulations. May opt out if they feel unable to commit under the new requirements.
- There will be a public list of Accredited Assessors to assist candidates.
- ACMA will investigate ways to streamline the existing process.
- Assessors will generate a unique examination and answer template and mark exams on the spot, thereby providing immediate feedback to the candidate.
- Assessors will use a portal to submit documents to the ACMA. This should minimise delays associated with issuing of callsigns and “Amateur Recognition Certificate(F/S/A)” No “SnailMail” will be used.
- At this stage, ACMA are not considering an online examination service
- ACMA will retain responsibility for the syllabi.
- There will be no technical changes to the syllabi in the near term (Ed: The Advanced Syllabus is CEPT compliant which provides efficiencies for ACMA and the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process.)
- The Australian RPL process will not be changing.
- There will be a minor change regarding naming of qualifications to align with Class Licencing formalities.
- No details about fees or payment methods were available at this time. ACMA works on a cost recovery basis and appreciates the very significant contribution by volunteers to keep costs down for AR aspirants.
- ACMA will not provide insurance; assessors are encouraged to use public venues with Public Liability insurance.
- Assessments still should not take place in private residences.
- The *minimum* number of Authorised Assessors at an assessment session remains at 1. There is nothing to prevent more than the minimum if it suits.
- The matter of open question pools was raised. ACMA advised that this is currently under review (Ed: it is RASA’s view that there should be no open question pools. This only encourages rote learning and undermines the integrity of the system)
- Assessors will not be permitted to charge a fee.
- ACMA noted the solution is not set in stone yet and they will communicate more details later this year. The ACMA Board still needs to approve any proposed changes.
- ACMA will invite feedback via its Public Consultation Process in August this year.
It is RASA’s view that by maintaining existing RPL arrangements, ACMA will protect the integrity and technical standards of our licencing system.
A small group of Australian amateurs have been promoting and encouraging the use of a foreign licencing system as an easy pathway to an Australian callsign. In what some have referred to as a “dodgy” work-around, it is no longer be possible for an Australian citizen to sit a foreign (USA) exam, obtain a USA callsign and then use the RPL processes to obtain an Australian callsign.
This is a good outcome for the Australian Amateur Service.