Senator Ludlam asked:
a) What is the ACMA's current annual budget for referrals of URLs to the Classification Board and how much do they cost per referral?
b) Do you have an order of magnitude estimate for how much it costs to make a URL assessment?
a) The ACMA assesses URLs, or refers to them to the Classification Board for assessment, in response to complaints received. As it is not possible to predict the number or nature of complaints, it is difficult to allocate a specific annual budget for referrals of URLs to the Classification Board. For the period 1 July 2009 to 31 January 2010, total expenditure on classification fees relating to online content investigations was $131,590. Most applications for classification related to single web pages. The fee for such an application was $510.
b) Investigating an item of online content involves determining its actual or likely classification, locating and identifying the hosting service provider, recording the outcome of the investigation and notifying the complainant of the outcome. In 2008-09, the average cost to the ACMA of investigating an item of online content that was not referred to the Classification Board was approximately $173 per item. For items that were referred to the Classification Board this was $685 per item, which included the cost of the ACMA preparing and administering the referrals