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Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2001

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1998-1999-2000-2001

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

BROADCASTING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2001

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

Amendments and New Clauses to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the Hon Richard Alston)



AMENDMENTS TO THE BROADCASTING SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 2) 2001

OUTLINE

The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2001 (the Bill) contains amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) that would allow the ABA to grant an exemption from the simulcast provisions, authorising broadcasters to show the HDTV version of a program at a different time to when the SDTV/analog versions are shown. 

The amendments proposed by the Government would limit the exemption to HDTV demonstration programs, ie programs produced for the sole purpose of allowing the benefits of HDTV to be demonstrated.  Broadcasters will not be required to show these HDTV demonstration programs on the SDTV/analog version of their service, and they will not count towards the HDTV quota.  The amendments would enable retailers to demonstrate HDTV promotional material to consumers.

(The Bill as introduced would also allow the ABA to determine that specified HDTV advertising may be different from the advertising on the SDTV or analog service.  These amendments do not affect the provisions of the Bill insofar as they deal with advertising.) 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

The amendments are not expected to have any significant impact on Commonwealth expenditure or revenue.



NOTES ON AMENDMENTS

Amendments (1) to (7) relate to commercial broadcasters.

Amendment (2) substitutes new paragraph 37EA(1)(a) of Schedule 4 of the BSA.  As amended, paragraph 37EA(1)(a) will provide that if an ABA determination under subclause 37EA(2) is in force, then any ‘HDTV demonstration programs’ covered by the determination are ignored for the purposes of the HDTV simulcast requirement, provided that the licensee complies with any conditions specified in the ABA’s determination. 

In a determination, the ABA could include conditions relating to matters such as the time of day during which demonstration programs may be transmitted, the maximum number of hours per day and/or week of demonstration programs, and the maximum number of times demonstration programs may be repeated during a day and/or week. 

A definition of ‘HDTV demonstration program’ is added to subclause 37EA(10) by amendment (6) .  A ‘HDTV demonstration program’ is a television program that is:

(a)            not longer than 60 minutes;

(b)           transmitted in HDTV digital mode on the HDTV version of a commercial television broadcasting service; and

(c)            produced for the sole purpose of allowing the benefits of transmission in HDTV digital mode to be demonstrated to potential purchasers of equipment which is capable of receiving television programs in HDTV digital mode. 

Amendment (3) amends subclause 37EA(2), so that an ABA determination could only apply to ‘HDTV demonstration programs’. 

Amendment (4) deletes subclause 37EA(6), which is the requirement in the Bill to re-transmit a program which is covered by an ABA determination.  Amendment (1) deletes item 7 of Schedule 1 of the Bill, which would add a new licence condition requiring licensees to comply with the re-transmission obligation in subclause 37EA(6). 

Amendment (5) substitutes 37EA(7) so that ‘HDTV demonstration programs’ do not count towards the HDTV quota. 

Amendment (7) omits the definition of ‘qualifying program’ from subclause 37EA(10).  The definition is redundant given the new definition of ‘HDTV demonstration program’. 

Amendments (8) to (14) relate to the equivalent provisions for national broadcasters. 

Amendments (8) to (13) make amendments to clause 37FA, which is the equivalent of clause 37EA in relation to national broadcasters.  These amendments correspond to amendments (2) to (7) .

Amendment (14) , which corresponds to amendment (1) , deletes item 12 of Schedule 1 of the Bill.  Item 12 would add a requirement on national broadcasters to comply with the re-transmission obligation in subclause 37FA(6).  Subclause 37FA(6) is deleted by amendment (10)