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Because of the increasing importance of submarine cables, the Australian Government introduced legislation designed to protect the most critical submarine cables—the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Protection of Submarine Cables and Other Measures) Act 2005. The legislation allows the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to declare submarine cable protection zones in Australian waters over submarine cables of national significance. The ACMA has declared three submarine cable protection zones:

  • the Perth Submarine Cable Protection Zone stretching from City Beach, near Perth, to 51 nautical miles offshore (that is, to a water depth of 2000 metres) for the protection of the SEA-ME-WE 3 (SWM3).
  • the Northern Sydney Submarine Cable Protection Zone extending from Narrabeen beach to 40 nautical miles off shore covering northern branches of the Australia Japan Cable and Southern Cross cable, including the area between these two cables; and
  • the Southern Sydney Submarine Cable Protection Zone extending from Tamarama and Clovelly beaches and extending 30 nautical miles off shore covering the southern branches of the Australia Japan Cable and Southern Cross cables, including the area between these two cables.