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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Regarding the first part of the question asked by the honorable member, as I have stated on a number ot ' occasions recently, since the initiation of television in Sydney and Melbourne, the whole question of the extension of television to other capital cities and country areas has been kept under close watch by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the

Postmaster-General's Department. It will be remembered that the Government announced, when television was commenced, that it intended to await the operation of the stations in Sydney and Melbourne before formulating its policy regarding further extensions. Now, sir, the position has been reached at which I have asked the board to give me a report concerning the operation of television so far, together with any recommendations regarding its extension. I have not yet received that report, but when it is received it will be presented to the Cabinet for discussion and determination of future policy in the matter. So far, there has been no determination of the form of any future extension of television, but I assume that the decision will not be withheld too long.

The second part of the honorable member's question referred to the co-ordination of broadcasting and television services in Brisbane, as the result of the purchase recently of a property which, I think, is in the honorable member's electorate. That has been done as a long-range policy, not just for the purpose of extending television, and it is not to be interpreted as meaning that any decision regarding the extension of television to Brisbane has been taken. Eventually, this building will house all the broadcasting and television services in that area. It represents a means whereby the costs of operation and administration of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in the Brisbane area may be reduced considerably, because we shall be able to get rid of expensive leases at present being held in various parts of Brisbane.

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