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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 323


Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (13:52): On 3 December analog television in Sydney will finally be switched off. We will be fully in a digital world. In preparation for the switch-over, some time ago the Labor government introduced a Household Assistance Scheme that provided assistance to people in need who were not able to make the transition to digital themselves. It covered people on the age pension, disability support pension, carer payment, Department of Veterans' Affairs service pension and income support supplement. It was much derided by the opposition of the day as a waste of money. But, as we go fully digital on 3 December, I know there are many people in my area and in the electorates of those opposite who will need assistance to ensure that at this time they do not find themselves without any free-to-air television at all. I urge all the members of this House, and anyone out there who knows someone who may find themselves unable to deal with the technology and unable to afford the technology to make the switch, to call the Household Assistance Scheme. They can get the number through their local member of parliament. I am sure everyone opposite, in spite of their opinions at the time that it was a waste of money, will find that number and help out their constituents now. This is an incredibly important program that ensures that some of the most disadvantaged people in the community do not let get left completely in the dark when we switch to digital.