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Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Page: 7313

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (18:40): I speak in support of this particular piece of legislation, the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Bill 2012. I only want to speak for a few minutes on it. The bill amends the television captioning requirements in the Broadcasting Services Act to provide improved media access for the deaf and hearing impaired. That is a worthy bipartisan approach to take in relation to these issues. There has been consultation with stakeholders, media and other groups associated with this particular piece of legislation.

Access to electronic media is important for all members of a society which is supposed to be inclusive. It means that people regardless of their circumstances, disabilities and limitations can access film, television and the internet. It is important that we in this parliament take an approach that looks at assisting those people to enjoy an important recreation of ordinary Australians, regardless of their circumstance, their income, their geographical location or their physical capacity.

The bill increases requirements for captioning free-to-air and subscription television broadcasts. We have all had the benefit of seeing captioning on our TVs; it assists people with hearing impairment by providing a text version of speech and sound during television broadcasts. Those of us who watch other programs on SBS and the like will have had the benefit of that. In this short time I want to congratulate the government on this bill, congratulate the opposition for their bipartisan approach and support the legislation.