Community broadcasting is established in Parts 6 and 6A of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA). Under the terms of the BSA, all allocation and renewal of long-term community radio licences are the responsibility of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Long-term community radio broadcasting licences are allocated for a period of five years on the basis of the comparative merit of the applicants, in accordance with the criteria set out in Section 84(2) of the BSA. Applications for the renewal of long-term community radio licences are also assessed against the same statutory merit criteria.
Before the allocation of long-term licences in areas where community broadcasting services are planned or in areas where broadcasting spectrum is available, temporary community broadcasting licences may be issued to eligible applicants. These licences are issued for periods up to 12 months and are not renewable. Licence holders may apply for a further licence before the expiry of their licences. Where there is more than one applicant, licensees must share use of the spectrum.
According to figures provided by the ACMA as at 11 April 2013, there were 355 long-term community radio licences and 94 temporary community radio licences.
Digital radio—community broadcasters were allocated funding and spectrum to commence digital services in the five mainland capital cities.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) is the national representative organisation for community radio broadcasters.
The Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) is an independent non-profit funding agency that solicits and distributes funds for the maintenance and development of community broadcasting in Australia.
CBOnline provides an online presence for community stations and online resources for community broadcasters. It showcases sector activities and places an emphasis on promoting and informing the general public about its dynamic and diverse nature and the integral role community broadcasting plays in supporting community life in Australia.
The Community Broadcasting Station Census (CBD) is an online database through which information on the activities and operations of community stations is collected and is the first initiative of its kind in the sector. Up-to-date, concrete information on the sector's status and progress is vital at both the sector and station level.