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Tuesday, 3 May 1994
Page: 137

(Question No. 1294)

Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications and the Arts, upon notice, on 30 March 1994:

  (1) How many narrowcast radio licences have been issued to Tourist Radio Pty Limited.

  (2) With reference to Tourist Radio Pty Limited, please advise details of the company, its paid-up capital and shareholding, and the names and addresses of the directors.

  (3) Is there any requirement by the Government, or the legislation, for the Government or any agency or authority to investigate the financial stability and suitability of any possible recipient of narrowcast radio licences.

  (4) Has the Minister received any complaints about the financial standing of the company.

  (5) What is the period of the licences issued to Tourist Radio Pty Limited, and when are they up for renewal.

  (6) Can the licences be sold or otherwise transferred.

Senator McMullan —The Minister for Communications and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) At 7 April 1994, 61 apparatus licences had been issued to Tourist Radio Pty Limited for low power open narrowcast services in various areas of Australia. The apparatus licences refer to a transmitter licence obtained from the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) under the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Narrowcast services are not individually licensed, as are commercial and community broadcasters, but operate under a class licensing system.

  (2) There is no legislative requirement for the Department of Communications and the Arts, the ABA or the Spectrum Management Agency (SMA) to keep records of a licensee's paid-up capital, its shareholding or the names and addresses of all its directors. The Australian Securities Commission will hold this information.

  The only company details the ABA requests from the applicant for an apparatus licence are the name of the prospective licensee company, the Australian Company Number and the company's address. This information is then stored on the Approved Frequency Assignment Database (AFAD) which is available to the public. The name of the licensee is Tourist Radio Pty Limited, the ACN is 005 945 312 and the company's address is PO Box 98, Corrimal, NSW, 2518.

  (3) Neither the Federal Government nor the legislation require the Government or any agency to investigate the financial stability or suitability of any possible recipient of an apparatus licence for a narrowcast service. The regulatory policy embodied in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 is to keep regulation of the less influential broadcasting services to a minimum. The ABA has a mandatory obligation to investigate narrowcast operators when it has received a complaint concerning an offence against the Act or the Regulations, or, concerning a breach of a class licence condition. The ABA is not required to investigate the business practices of narrowcasters.

  (4) Yes.

  (5) Apparatus licences have a 12 month duration. The apparatus licences issued to Tourist Radio Pty Limited are up for renewal on the anniversary of the day that they were granted. The 61 apparatus licences are due to expire on various dates during 1994 and 1995. The SMA renews apparatus licences in consultation with the ABA.

  (6) No. The Radiocommunications Act 1992 makes no provision for transfer of apparatus licences. However, where a licence is issued to a company, a change of ownership of the apparatus licence may be effected by selling the company.