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Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Page: 103


Mr FLETCHER (BradfieldMinister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects) (18:34): I am very pleased to rise to deliver this summing-up speech in the second reading debate on the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Radio) Bill 2015. I thank the members for Blaxland and Solomon for their contribution to the debate. In particular, I want to acknowledge my friend and colleague the member for Solomon, a hardworking member representing regional and remote Australia. She is a strong and effective advocate for her constituents. She takes an ongoing interest in communications policy matters, recognising the importance of the communications sector and communications technology for people in regional and remote Australia staying in touch with the issues they need to be informed about.

As the member for Solomon and the member for Blaxland have noted, the bill before the House this evening would amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Radiocommunications Act 1992 for the purpose of reducing regulatory complexity and delivering a simpler, more flexible process for the planning and licensing of digital radio services in regional Australia. Its measures draw very substantially on the recommendations contained in the digital radio report issued by the government in July last year, and their effect would be to deliver a simple and more flexible process for the planning and licensing of digital radio in regional Australia. Specifically, the key measures in the bill include repealing the restricted datacasting licence category; removing the minister's role in the setting of the digital radio start-up day for regional licence areas; removing the requirement for a six-year moratorium on the allocation of additional digital commercial radio broadcasting licences in a licence area following the commencement of digital radio services in that area; amending the definition of 'non-foundation digital radio multiplex transmitter licence' to ensure the definition operates in a manner consistent with the relevant policy objective; and making certain minor amendments to the two acts I mentioned to repeal some spent provisions.

Importantly, the measures in this bill are supported by stakeholders in the commercial, community and public radio sectors. The passage of this bill will simplify and streamline Australia's digital radio regulatory regime. I therefore commend the bill to the House and call on all members to support it.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.