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Wednesday, 9 November 1983
Page: 2487


Mr DUFFY —Mr Speaker, while I am on my feet could I refer to the question asked earlier by the honourable member for Wilmot and make a correction to my answer to that?


Mr SPEAKER —I will allow the Minister to do that.


Mr DUFFY —In asking a question of me earlier today, I think the honourable member for Wilmot was referring to radio communications licence fees. In the answer that I gave him, I am sure I referred to broadcasting licence fees for both radio and television. I think the honourable member for Wilmot was referring to the new scale of radio communications licence fees implemented on 1 September. That new scale represents a departure from the user-pays principle. In reaching that decision, this Government made a decision that the radio frequency spectrum was a highly valuable national resource and it was considered appropriate that the fees charged to users of the spectrum should include a royalty as well as a cost recovery component. In the term of the previous Government, radio communications licence fees for 1981 and 1982 were in fact set on a cost recovery basis. The Radiocommunications Licence Fees Regulations were amended this year as from 1 September for a new scale of radio communications licence fees. They involve an increase of 23 per cent in average licence fees, including a royalty as well as a cost recovery component. I am sure the honourable member was adverting to that matter, and I confused it with broadcasting licence fees.