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Wednesday, 19 April 1961

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - The Government's policy regarding the establishment of national television stations in country areas was announced by me at the same time as I announced the policy on the third phase of television. I can inform the honorable member that the Postmaster-General's Department, the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board have been working on the various matters that have to be determined in this phase of television. As far as the national television service is concerned, tenders have been called for the necessary equipment and, in the majority of cases, the sites have been chosen and the "work is proceeding quite satisfactorily.

It will, of course, be some time, as I said when I made the original announcement, before the national stations are in operation, because the department will have to provide thirteen such stations.

The honorable member also asks when a second commercial television station is likely to be established in, I take it he means, each of the areas at present being served by one commercial station in this third phase. In that regard, I made the Government's policy quite clear that, for the present, we were licensing one commercial station only in each of those country areas. I made it clear that that did not mean that any monopoly was being given to the stations concerned, but meant that at some time in the future, when the initial stations have had time to become established and operative, and when the manner in which the stations are operating can be judged from the reports which will come in, consideration would be given to whether a second station should or should not be established. Obviously, that stage has not yet been reached, and may not be reached for a considerable time.

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