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Tuesday, 7 December 1976

Mr Eric Robinson (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) - Let me assure the honourable member for Bowman (Mr Jull) that whilst the Government is very much in favour, as I believe the Parliament ought to be, of planning being conducted by the Government and the Department, planning of the broadcasting system is a very substantial responsibility. We have believed for some time that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board should not have the right to both planning and licensing. So the whole thrust is to divorce the two. It would have been possible to have the planning in the hands of yet another statutory authority. We decided- I believe properly so- that because planning was related and akin to policy it should go back to the Department. Of critical importance to this decision is the need to see that planning in relation to the Broadcasting Council would bring together all sections of the industry- the national, the public and the commercial sectors, the community and the Department. We have yet to discuss that Council. I notice that the Opposition has some amendments on that. The Council should be able to assist, to take initiatives with regard to planning. The honourable member for Bowman is knowledgeable. People who know his background will understand that he has been involved in the industry and is knowledgeable about it. I assure him and the Committee generally that the planning will be on a non-political basis. It is concerned with the system. It is concerned with the air waves, with the spectrum. We would see as essential to planning a co-operation, a liaison and a consultative role with the Broadcasting Council in which all elements of the system would play a part and, we hope, would play a part for the benefit of the entire system.

Amendments agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Progress reported.

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