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Tuesday, 14 September 1971
Page: 1304

Mr Collard asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   Is it a fact that the proposed television station to serve the town of Esperance in Western Australia is unlikely to commence operations before early 1974.

(2)   If so, is a major part of the delay due to the period of time (approximately 2 years) between placing the orders and the receipt of equipment obtained from overseas manufacturers.

(3)   Has the equipment required for the Esperance Station been ordered; if so, when.

(4)   If the order has not been lodged, what is the reason for the delay.

(5)   Are there any other major delays affecting installation other than that relating to overseas equipment; if so, what are they.

Sir Alan Hulme - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Yes, on present indications. (2) In addition to the planning and construction of the television station, the provision of service to Esperance is dependent on the establishment of broadband telecommunication facilities between Norseman and Esperance over which programmes will be relayed to the station. The dominant delay factor is that the broadband relay equipment can only be obtained from overseas, and its supply is currently subject to a delivery delay of about two years. A period of one year applies to the importation of television station equipment.

(3)   No.

(4)   The station for Esperance is one of 38 stations to be established in widely separated and relatively remote areas of the Commonwealth as the current or seventh stage of television development. As the honourable member will appreciate, the whole task which also involves the provision of special relay links to many of the stations concerned, is one of considerable magnitude and will take some time to complete. Although a great deal of work has already been completed, including technical surveys in each of the 38 areas, a considerable amount of work is involved in processing the survey information before the operating conditions for the various stations and relay facilities can be determined and the necessary equipment ordered. The determination of the technical specifications for the provision of service to Esperance is well advanced, and it is expected that a contract for the broadband relay equipment will be placed early in 1972.

(5)   No other major delays are anticipated. However, it must be realised that the provision of the broadband system between Norseman and Esperance, leaving aside the provision of the actual television station at Esperance, is a formidable task involving the construction of repeater installations at intervals of 20 to 30 miles along the route. On present indications, because of the amount of work involved and the fact that equipment must be obtained from overseas, it would not seem possible that the Esperance station would be ready for commencement of service before early 1974. However, the possibility of advancing the completion date for the Esperance station and for other stations in the seventh stage of development is being examined and a full timetable of possible completion dates for all stations will be announced as soon as practicable.

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