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Battle for control of Australian regional and remote area commercial television

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"The final round in the b a t t l e for control of A u s t r a l i a ' s

regional and remote area commercial television business is now b e i n g f o u g h t . It is a s t r u g g l e w h i c h w i l l d e t e r m i n e the

d i r e c t i o n and o w n e r s h i p of c o m m e r c i a l t e l e v i s i o n in A u s t r a l i a into the 21st century." B r u c e L l o y d , M e m b e r for M u r ray, m a d e

this s t a t e m e n t today w h e n c o m m e n t i n g on the p r e s e n t b a t t l e to

control regional television.

Mr. Lloyd said that the battle is between the Federal Government, regional t e l e v i s i o n c o m p a n i e s such as G M V 6 or TV 8, the three

national c o m m e r c i a l t e l e v i s i o n n e t w o r k s (7,9 and 10), the

A u s t r a l i a n B r o a d c a s t i n g T r i b u n a l (A.B.T.) a n d A u s s a t , t he

Australian domestic satellite company. .

"The A.B.T. is also about to determine the first of the

supplementary regional television and radio licences, which will provide a second program for each of the regional areas of Australia, including Shepparton and Bendigo."

"The networks are pressing the Government to reject the supplementary licence policy and the zoning and coding of remote area transmissions and allow them to 1 blanket1 Australia with three national services. This would be the end of independent"

regional ownership and local programming."

Mr. Lloyd emphasised that the present Government and the previous Coalition Government rejected the networks position because of the media monopoly it would entrench. The A.B.T. has also

reported that Australia needs more TV program providers and this can only be achieved by strengthening regional companies rather than the networks.

"The networks are also indirectly pressing the Government by threatening to cancel their satellite contracts unless their policy is accepted and this in turn thea tens the economic

viability of the satellites."

"Whoever controls the limited number of high powered satellite transmitters controls Australian broadcasting, so it is of great i m p o r t a n c e that the G o v e r n m e n t m a i n t a i n s the bi-partisan

commecial television policy and not yield to the pressure from the networks," concluded Mr. Lloyd.

end 10 April 1985

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