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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 889


Senator JONES —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Communications. I refer to the Government's intention to introduce supplementary broadcasting licences. What improvement in programming is expected to follow the Government's introduction of supplementary licences? Will the increase in channels available in both commercial radio and television services provide a diversity of services in non-metropolitan areas, particularly in country areas of Queensland? Will the Minister provide me with details of the areas from which applications are expected to be received by 28 September 1984?


Senator BUTTON —The supplementary licence scheme, which has been the topic of discussion in this Parliament for several years now, was introduced and announced by the Minister for Communications to provide greater diversity in television and radio markets, particularly those markets which could not support an additional independent commercial radio or television station. The scheme provides a vehicle for additional independent commercial radio or television services in markets that can support such services. The introduction of the scheme is expected to result in more choice in practically every non- metropolitan market. Insofar as the question relates to program choice, of course the scheme is expected to provide greater diversity of programming.

A supplementary licence covers both radio and television services. I should point out that 86 of a possible 101 radio stations have expressed interest in a supplementary licence. All of the 36 television stations have also expressed interest in a supplementary licence. The closing date for applications under the scheme is 20 September-I think Senator Jones said 28 September in his question. For Senator Jones's information, 22 out of a possible 23 radio stations in Queensland have expressed interest in a supplementary licence. All the eight television channels in Queensland have also expressed interest in a supplementary licence.