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Tuesday, 4 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON - The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answers to the honorable senator's questions -

1.   Austarama Television Pty. Ltd. in its evidence to the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in the licence inquiry, indicated in relation to proposed programmes that it planned to provide 244 hours weekly of Australian content in its first year of operation. This was based on a proposed weekly service of 42 hours and represented 58 per cent, of transmission time.

2.   Australian programmes of the type mentioned by the honorable senator were mentioned in the company's evidence.

3.   The proposals of the company were stated to be dependent to some extent on the establishment of a system of programme exchange on a network basis with stations to be established in other capital cities. These stations, other than Channel 10, Sydney, which opened on 5th April, 1965, have not yet commenced operation.

4.   The current Australian content of station ATV is in the vicinity of 17 hours weekly. This represents 25 per cent, of the hours of transmission.

5.   Proposals by applicants relating to Australian content were only one of the factors taken into account by the Board in recommending the grant of licences. The honorable senator is referred to the Board's Report (1963) on applications for licences in Sydney and Melbourne and in particular to paragraphs 32 and 62. The question of Australian programmes on ATV is receiving attention.

7.   Australian content during the first three months of 1965 has averaged approximately 25 per cent.

On 8th April, Senator Hannan asked me the following question -

In addressing my question to the Minister representing the Postmaster-GeneralI refer to the legal requirement imposed upon American television manufacturers by the Federal Communications Commission that all current television receivers shall be capable of reception in the ultra high frequency as well as in the very high frequency band. Bearing in mind the fate of frequency modulation broadcasting in Australia, and with a view to minimising existing and future frequency difficulty will the Minister discuss with his technical advisers the possibility of imposing a similar provision in Australia?

The Postmaster-General has now provided the following information in reply to the honorable senator's question -

The Postmaster-General is aware of the requirement imposed on television receiver manufacturers in the United States of America that all television receivers shall be capable of reception of transmissions in the ultra high frequency as well as in the very high frequency band, both of which bands are used for television services. No decision has been made in Australia concerning the use of the ultra high frequency band either for sound broadcasting or for television, but if and when such a decision is made, appropriate steps will be taken in advance of the band being brought into use in order to minimise reception difficulties. It would seem undesirable to require the purchasers of receivers to incur additional expense, at this stage, for the provision of a facility which may not be used during the lifetime of their receivers.

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