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Tuesday, 22 May 2007
Page: 123


Mr Murphy asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, in writing, on 29 March 2007:

(1)   Is the Minister aware of that part of the Productivity Commission report into Broadcasting, published in April 2000, which states inter alia that “[t]he cross-media rules should be removed once a more competitive media environment is established, that is, when...the ban on entry of new television stations is removed; and a significant amount of spectrum is available for new entry”.

(2)   How does the Minister reconcile the apparent conflict between the Productivity Commission’s conclusions and the Government’s recent cross-media ownership reforms reflected in the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006.

(3)   Will the Minister give a firm date for the switch-off of analogue broadcasting; if so, what is the specific date; if not, why not.

(4)   Will the Minister remove all bans on the entry of new television stations; if so, when; if not, why not.

(5)   Will the Minister issue a fourth free-to-air licence; if so, (a) when, (b) will conditions be attached to the issue of the licence and (c) will there be restrictions on who may bid for such a licence; if not, why not.


Mr McGauran (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   Yes.

(2)   The Honourable Member’s attention is directed to the Minister’s answer to Question 5651.

(3)   There is insufficient digital take-up to meet the current switchover date of 31 December 2008 in metropolitan areas. Accordingly, as announced on 13 July 2006, this date will be reset with a new switchover target to commence in 2010-2012. ACMA has been asked to provide advice on the technical factors that may affect a detailed switchover timetable.

(4)   and (5) The Honourable Member’s attention is directed to parts (2) and (3) of the Minister’s answer to Question 5341.