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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5663


Mr BRUCE SCOTT (5:15 PM) —I will be very quick. I want to talk about those self-help communities, of which there are 600 in Australia. I understand 100 of those communities will be receiving support by commercial operators to convert those signals from analog to digital, but I am worried about the other 500, particularly those small communities where it is planned to put a satellite dish to receive the signal as the way of receiving digital television. My concern in relation to that is for not only the individual households but also the motels or the individual cabins in tourist centres. Will they all get a dish or will that be a responsibility of the commercial operator?

What will happen, say, in a caravan park where they can now receive the signal terrestrially? Obviously, they will not be able to have a satellite dish on their caravan or the individual cabin. How will people in those situations be able to receive digital television when the plan is to put it on each and every home in those communities which are now serviced by a self-help scheme? I would appreciate it if the minister could answer this question—or perhaps the department can give me an answer to that.

The parliamentary secretary for Northern Australia will understand that outback tourism is a very important aspect of the economy. As you would appreciate, Mr Deputy Speaker, there will be many people, grey nomads, out in those rural communities and in the outback tonight wanting to watch Queensland make history in the State of Origin. How will they see it if they are in a situation where they do not have a dish and there is no longer terrestrial transmission? Will they be denied access? The minister spoke earlier about equity of access. I would like to think that there will be equity of access for those caravan parks, individual cabins and the motels where each room receives it terrestrially now. How will they get on? Or will this be a cost to those small businesses and those micro-small business in rural Australia?