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Monday, 23 May 2011
Page: 4035


Ms LEY (Farrer) (13:54): Today I seek to be a useful information source to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. The minister will be enlightened to know that some residents in the south-west of my electorate of Farrer now enjoy the benefits of digital television, but this is only after being forced to buy a new digital television set after the government funded set-top box provided to them proved faulty and broke down after one month. I say 'some' residents because this only applies to parts of the NSW-Victorian border not suffering from the new illness of 'digital black-spot disease'.

The minister could be enlightened further if he visited the town of Barham, where 50 households that were receiving an adequate analog signal now have either patchy digital service or, in some cases, nothing at all. The government's own digital ready taskforce has admitted that the new transmitter the government funded to service the area is not doing so.

I say to the minister: if this government can find an extra $300 million to install free, possibly working set-top boxes, surely it can find money to assist those with no television signal at all. The minister might want to re-enlighten himself with his own comments from last year when he said, 'Digital television will bridge the city-country divide, giving access to the same number of TV channels no matter where they live.'