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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Dr PRICE (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - There are not enough records available at present.

Mr JOLLY - It must, be almost impossible for the commission to secure artists from overseas at present, and, even if they could be secured, strong reasons would need to be advanced to justify bringing them here. I trust that as the result of the encouragement to be given to local talent we shall have the opportunity to listen to the work of a greater number of Australian composers and authors.

Under clause 95 of the bill, it is proposed that advisory committees shall be appointed in each State. No doubt such committees could be of great assistance, but I regret that it is proposed that the committees shall report directly to the Minister and apparently ignore the commission. In the interests of smooth working, there should be the fullest measure of co-operation between the commission and the advisory committees.

Sir Charles Marr - The advisory committees will be required to deal with commercial as well as national broadcasting.

Mr JOLLY - But they will doubtless be required to consider many matters vitally important to the administration of the national stations.

Sir Charles Marr - They will deal almost entirely with programmes.

Mr JOLLY - That does not alter my opinion that they should act in the fullest co-operation with the commission and not ignore it. 'Clause 34 of the bill provides that the commission shall be exempt from the payment of rates and taxes to local governing authorities. If this provision covers municipal rates, I trust that arrangements will be made for an ex gratia payment to be made by the commission to local governing bodies in localities where it is operating. It is only fair that the commission, which is a trading concern, should make a contribution to the local governing body which is responsible for services which it enjoys. I understand that the Commonwealth Bank, though not under legal obligation to pay rates and taxes, makes an en: gratia payment to municipal authorities in localities where it owns and occupies buildings. The Australian Broadcasting Commission should follow this good example.

Sir Charles Marr - I understand that the commission pays rates and taxes in respect of buildings which it leases.

Mr JOLLY - The bill provides that it shall be exempt from such charges.

Sir CHARLES MARR (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Only in respect of its own buildings.

Mr JOLLY - Even in respect of its own buildings, it should pay rates and taxes.

I shall deal with certain other provisions of the bill when the measure is at the committee stage. I have confined my remarks on this occasion largely to the financial aspects of the commission's operations, and I greatly regret that provision has not been made for an improvement in its financial " set-up ". Apparently the present arrangements between the commission and the PostmasterGeneral's Department in respect of financial matters are to be continued, under which the commission receives a part of the licence-fees, and the PostmasterGeneral's Department the balance of them. I urge, as I have done previously, that a comprehensive statement should be presented to Parliament each year setting out the total revenues from licence-fees 'and the details of their disbursement. I regard this as an essential reform.

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