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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 86

(Question No. 4876)


Mr Everingham asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 12 November 1986:

(1) Has Heli-Muster Pty Ltd experienced problems with radiocommunications.

(2) Was Heli-Muster allocated a particular radio frequency to allow the company interference-free communication.

(3) Has this frequency also been allocated to a number of Aboriginal communities.

(4) Does the lack of clear radiocommunication cause considerable inconvenience to the company and could endanger the lives of pilots in difficulty.

(5) What action does he propose to overcome the difficulties presently being experienced.


Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. Heli-Muster Pty Ltd have complained about problems associated with sharing the frequency 5059.5 kHz with an Aboriginal community.

(2) No. While care is taken in assigning frequencies, there is no assurance in the assignment of any frequency that the licensee will be able to use it free from interference. Interference may be substantial or minor and may be as a result of sources within Australia or from overseas. Heli-Muster Pty Ltd were assigned frequencies 5059.5 kHz, 9307.5 kHz, 10184.5 kHz and 15675.5 kHz for a point to point fixed service. They were also assigned the frequencies 3705.5 kHz and 6861.5 kHz for an aeronautical mobile service.

(3) Yes. The frequency 5059.5 kHz is shared with a number of other enterprises which include an Aboriginal community based at Tennant Creek.

Only a limited number of frequencies are available to provide communication over long distances. In view of the heavy demand for high frequency communication and the shortage of suitable frequencies, the use of most high frequencies is on a shared basis.

(4) As outlined in (2) above the frequency 5059.5 kHz was assigned to Heli-Muster Pty Ltd for a point to point fixed service. The use of this frequency by them for aeronautical mobile operations contravenes the conditions of the licence and is an offence under section 25 (1) ((a)) of the Radiocommunications Act 1983.

Heli-Muster Pty Ltd should use the frequencies 3705.5 kHz and 6861.5 kHz for their aeronautical mobile service.

(5) Officers of my Department have spoken with Heli-Muster Pty Ltd on a number of occasions with a view to regularising their operations and discussing other problems, without success. The New South Wales State Manager of my Department would be more than happy to discuss any communication requirements.