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Tuesday, 15 October 1974
Page: 1699


Senator GUILFOYLE (VICTORIA) - My question which is directed to the Minister for the Media refers to the information that he gave to Senator Poyser earlier this morning. What is the Minister's response to the request by the Secretary of the Community Radio Federation to delay the opening of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's public access station until a licence is granted to an independent community radio station? What precisely is the program for development of experimental public broadcasting under the AM frequency by independent community access groups?


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - If the honourable senator peruses the Broadcasting and Television Act she will see that at the present time the Australian Broadcasting Control Board is empowered to license stations only for commercial operation. Therefore, all other types of licences have to be issued by my colleague the Postmaster-General under the terms of the Wireless Telegraphy Act. Such stations are licensed, generally speaking, according to conditions and standards laid down and authorised by the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. Certainly, so far as the program that has been established is concerned, I would hope that the Music Broadcasting Society of Victoria and the Music Broadcasting Society of New South Wales will be able to operate experimental FM stations by the end of this year. Certainly after the Cabinet decision was taken they were invited to accept such licences. They have accepted, and I understand that plans are now under way by them to get those stations going. Likewise, the Adelaide University station- also operating under the terms of the Wireless Telegraphy Act- has been invited to extend its operations. Of course, the Australian Broadcasting Commission is looking at the question of possible public access broadcasting by the use of its standby transmitter, apparently in Melbourne.

Having said that I emphasise, as I emphasised earlier, that these activities are being encouraged by the Government on an experimental basis at this stage. For the sake of the radio industry and of the community broadcasting section- a section that is very much interested in this area- we do not want to rush blindly into this subject until we have investigated it. We want to move carefully and cautiously so that we can investigate on an experimental basis the effectiveness of this type of broadcasting.







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