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Thursday, 29 October 1959

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Mr. Deputy Speaker,I have not seen any recent analysis of the content of television programmes to which I think the honorable member refers. From time to time I am advised by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board on such matters as this. The board is required to keep a supervision over the programme content of both broadcasting and television licensees and advise me on this matter of Australian content. From time to time, I have made statements in the House on that matter, and the board includes a reference to it in its annual report. Therefore, I am generally aware of the position outlined by the honorable member for New England.

The honorable member has asked me whether, if I am aware of these facts, I consider that programmes should be provided by country television of merit equal to that of city television. This is a matter on which I can only express a personal opinion. I have done so previously and will do so again. It is my personal opinion that licensees in country areas could provide programmes of merit and interest equal to those available in city areas.

As to the Australian producer, we desire to encourage the development of Australianproduced films. I have pointed out previously that this is a matter in which a considerable amount of technical knowledge and know-how has to be developed. That development is going on. It is my hope and belief that, as a result of the further extension of television throughout Australia, the increasing market will enable the development of Australian-produced films and that, therefore, the result which we are seeking will be achieved as television in Australia continues to expand.

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