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Government adds to confusion on regional radio and TV licences



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National Party o f Australb

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Federal Secretariat: P.O. Box E265 Queen Victoria Terrace, A.C.T. 2600. Tel. (062) 733822

BRUCE LLOYD, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS MEMBER FOR MURRAY 2 December 1983

GOVERNMENT ADDS TO CONFUSION ON REGIONAL RADIO AND TV LICENCES

The announcement by the M in i s t e r f o r Communications t h i s week on a d d it io n a l ra d io and TV s t a t i o n s f o r r e g io n a l areas h g i b l i g h t s

the Labor Government's f i x a t i o n w it h media ow nership a t th e re g io n a l

l e v e l , and in f a c t encourages g r e a t e r c i t y media c o n c e n t r a t io n , cla im s

Shadow Communications M i n i s t e r , Bruce L lo y d .

Mr LLoyd s a id t h a t w h ile he welcomed the d e t a i l s p ro v id e d so p ro m p tly

by th e M i n i s t e r , in r e a l i t y a d d it io n a l lic e n c e s are n o t l i k e l y to be

o p e ra tio n a l f o r many months, and would a c t u a l l y c re a te more u n c e r t a in t y

about the im p le m e n ta tio n o f the supplem entary lic e n c e scheme.

"The Government's apparent f i x a t i o n w it h media ow nership being c o n c e n tra te d in the hands o f a few has a double s ta n d a rd .

"W hile the M i n i s t e r announced l e g i s l a t i v e amendments to r e s t r i c t r e g io n a l

ow nership, he has been g iv in g even g r e a t e r power to the th re e commercial

n e tw o rks, by a llo w in g them n a tio n a l TV n e tw o rkin g o f t h e i r programs by

s a t e l l i t e .

"The Government seems to f o r g e t th e c u r r e n t r e s t r i c t i o n o f two TV lic e n c e s

per company o b v io u s ly fa v o u rs the c i t y media g ro u p s, because o f the g r e a t e r .

s iz e o f t h a t m arket. A d d i t i o n a l l y , re g io n a l s t a t i o n s a ls o have to compete

w ith th e c i t y media a t th e re g io n a l l e v e l .

Mr L loyd s a id i t would appear t h a t f o r a l l b u t the most s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d

a p p li c a t i o n s , th e re would be lo n g d e la y s . The M i n i s t e r announced t h a t the

necessary l e g i s l a t i v e amendments would be in tro d u c e d i n t o P a rlia m e n t d u rin g the Budget s e s s io n , which does n o t s t a r t u n t i l August 1984, and

t h a t means a delay o f n e a r ly tw le v e months b e fo re any d e c is io n s are made.

The need to p ro v id e fre q u e n c ie s f o r a l l the new s t a t i o n s c o u ld take even

lo n g e r , as Band I I has n o t y e t been c le a re d f o r FM r a d io tra n s m is s io n .

One way to overcome t h i s problem would be to adopt th e U n ite d S ta te s p o l ic y

o f a llo w in g an a p p lic a n t to prove t h a t a p a r t i c u l a r frq u e n c y d id n o t

i n t e r f e r e w i t h any o th e r .

Mr Lloyd s a id the announcement had c re a te d a l o t o f c o n fu s io n among r e g io n a l

media i n t e r e s t s , many o f whom are u n c e rta in w h eth er o r n o t th e y w i l l q u a l i f y

f o r a lic e n c e , and in f a c t , w hether th e y should even a p p ly .

These u n c e r t a i n t i e s , to g e th e r w ith how one d e fin e s a s p e c i f i e d market o r

broadcast a re a , and the q u e s tio n o f aggregate lic e n c e fees means t h e r e w i l l be no

e a r ly r e s o lu t io n o f the problem , and no e a r ly a d d it io n a l program ch o ice f o r people

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