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Thursday, 26 September 1974
Page: 1440

Senator JESSOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -I ask the Minister for the Media a question relating to a question asked yesterday about the provision of television services to Leigh Creek. I recall that the Minister said that officers of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board would be visiting Adelaide shortly and would be discussing this question with interested parties. I would like to know, firstly, whether the Minister can identify the interested parties. The Minister may be aware that I have been to Leigh Creek with an officer of the Broadcasting Control Board and I recognise the point he raised about the economic and technical difficulties with respect to a micro-wave connection to that area. I believe that the Minister mentioned the alternative proposal that a low power television service be installed in that area. What is the Government's policy with respect to the provision of such installations? As Leigh Creek is essentially an Electricity Trust town and as such is of particular interest to the South Australian Government, and in view of plans to expand the coal mining activities in the area, prolonging the life of the town for a long period, will the Minister negotiate with the State Government with the object of discussing the possibility of jointly financing a low power installation to serve this town? Finally, in the event of the provision of satellite television for Australia, is it a fact that low powered television installations such as this can be utilised and, because of this, money expended in that direction would not be wasted?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -A great number of questions have been asked by the honourable senator. I will try to answer all or as many of them as I can remember. I well recall the honourable senator going to Leigh Creek with an officer of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board some time ago after he had made representations to me on this matter. I would not know all the interested parties but recently I received a deputation from my colleagues Senator Donald Cameron, Senator McLaren and Mr Wallis, who is the local Federal member.

Senator Jessop - Mr Kellyis the local member.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I did not know that. I know that Mr Wallis was a member of the deputation and I assumed that he was the Federal member. The matter of approaching the South Australian Electricity Trust is something that came out of the deputation. An approach has already been made and I would assume that when the Australian Broadcasting Control Board says that it is going to Adelaide to discuss the matter with interested parties these interested parties would include the South Australian Electricity Trust and/or the South Australian Government. In regard to low powered television services, I do not want it to be accepted for one moment that what I said yesterday automatically is the answer. I just put that up as a prospective answer and suggested it should be closely looked at. What the honourable senator said in regard to satellite television is, I think, basically correct although I imagine it would be some considerable time before this sort of move could be envisaged.

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