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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 179

Digital Switchover Household Assistance Scheme

(Question No. 590)

Mr Fletcher asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 12 September 2011:

In respect of the $308.8 million allocated in 2011-12 to the Digital Switchover Household Assistance Scheme for the roll out in regional NSW, ACT, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Western Australia and State capital cities:

(1) What is the population of each area, including each State capital city.

(2) What combined number of individuals and couples has the Government determined will be prima facie eligible in each area for a set top box by reason of being recipients of the maximum rate of (a) an Age Pension, or a (b) Disability Support Pension, (c) Carer Payment, or (d) Department of Veterans’ Affairs (i) Service Pension, or (ii) Income Support Supplement.

(3) How many of those who are or will be prima facie eligible has the Government estimated will not be eligible by reason of already having access to digital television on any of the televisions that they own.

(4) Does access to digital free to air services through a pay television service constitute already having access to digital television; if so, how many of those who would be prima facie eligible in part (3) does the Government estimate would fall into this category.

Mr Albanese: The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1) This information is available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

(2) The estimated number of potentially eligible households in each of the switchover areas, based on information from Centrelink, is:

Switchover area

Potentially eligible households

Regional NSW/ACT

308 941

Tasmania (including Hobart)

59 233


117 473


235 968


142 168


345 632


345 960


6 782

Remote Central and Eastern Australia

18 918

Remote and Regional Western Australia

36 729


(3) Extensive work is undertaken to estimate the number of households that may seek assistance under the scheme, taking account of factors such as digital conversion in the home, including via pay TV. It is estimated the total number of households that will take up the assistance available will be around 700 000. The projected number in each switchover area is not disclosed in advance, as disclosure of this information would compromise future negotiations with tenderers in remaining switchover areas.

(4) Yes. See (3)