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Speech by the Minister for Communications



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SPEECH BY THE

. MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

THE HON. N .A . BROWN, Q .C .. M .P .

AT THE

OFFICIAL OPENING

OF THE

TELECOM JETTY

AT

MANDORAH. COX PENINSULA

NORTHERN TERRITORY

9 JUNE 1982

INTRODUCTION

• I AM GLAD TO BE HERE ON THIS SIGNIFICANT #

OCCASION AND TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO OPEN THIS JETTY. *

IT IS OF COURSE OF PRIME IMPORTANCE TO TELECOM AUSTRALIA

AND RADIO AUSTRALIA AND ALSO TO THE RESIDENTS OF COX

PENINSULA AND THOSE WHO MAKE THE JOURNEY ACROSS THE HARBOUR

TO V IS IT THE PENINSULA OR WORK HERE.

I DO NOT BELIEVE THERE IS ANY NEED TO REMIND

ANYONE HERE TODAY OF THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF CYCLONE

TRACY WHICH EIGHT YEARS AGO KNOCKED OUT THE RADIO AUSTRALIA

FA CILITY ON COX PENINSULA AND ALSO CAUSED SUBSTANTIAL

DAMAGE TO THIS JETTY.

AS .AN INTERIM MEASURE THE GOVERNMENT WAS ABLE TO

RESTORE SOME RADIO AUSTRALIA SERVICES BY ESTABLISHING A

LIMITED HIGH FREQUENCY INSTALLATION AT CARNARVON IN WESTERN

AUSTRALIA, WITH OTHER SERVICES BEING PROVIDED FROM

SHEPPARTON IN VICTORIA WHERE RADIO AUSTRALIA HAS TRANSMITTING

F A C IL IT IE S .

THE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO REBUILD THE RADIO

AUSTRALIA STATION HERE FOLLOWING A RECOMMENDATION TO THIS

EFFECT BY A PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC

WORKS. PART OF THIS RECOMMENDATION CONCERNED-RECONSTRUCTION-

OF THIS JETTY.

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STAGED DEVELOPMENT ·

THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF RADIO AUSTRALIA ON COX

PENINSULA IS BEING DONE IN STAGES AND CONSTRUCTION IS

SCHEDULED TO BE COMPLETED TOWARDS THE END OF 1 98 3,

CERTAINLY IT WILL BE A BETTER STATION THAN THE FA C ILITY

RADIO AUSTRALIA HAD BEFORE CYCLONE TRACY. ALTHOUGH ITS

THREE 250 KW TRANSMITTERS WILL BE THE SAME AS THOSE USED

BEFORE THE CYCLONE, OTHER EQUIPMENT, ESPECIALLY THE AERIAL

SYSTEM, WILL ENSURE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE BROADCAST SIGNALS

HEARD IN THE STATION'S TARGET AREAS SUCH AS INDONESIA,

CHINA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, THAILAND AND THE P H IL IP P IN E S . THESE

IMPROVEMENTS ARE OF COURSE THE RESULT OF THE EXPLOSION IN

TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE WHICH HAS OCCURRED SINCE THE

STATION WAS FIRST ESTABLISHED IN THE LATE 1960S.

ALL OF THE NATIONS I HAVE MENTIONED ARE OF VITAL

IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRALIA IN MANY OF ITS INTERESTS IN THE

GENERAL PA C IFIC REGION. FOR MANY OF THEIR C ITIZEN S,

LISTENING TO RADIO AUSTRALIA IS THE ONLY CONTACT THEY WILL

EVER HAVE WITH THIS COUNTRY. FOR THIS REASON ALONE IT IS

ESSENTIAL THAT THE VOICE OF RADIO AUSTRALIA - WHICH IS

RESPECTED OVERSEAS FOR THE AUTHORITATIVENESS, INDEPENDENCE

AND ACCURACY OF ITS PROGRAMS, ESPECIALLY NEWS AND CURRENT

AFFAIRS - IS HEARD WITHOUT DIFFICULTY THROUGHOUT THE REGION.

. . . / 3

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THE WIDE-RANGING D IX INQUIRY INTO THE ABC PAID

DUE ATTENTION TO RADIO AUSTRALIA AND INDICATED THAT IT

RECOGNISED THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS FA C ILITY IN PROJECTING

AUSTRALIA TO MILLIONS OF LISTENERS IN MANY PARTS OF THE

WORLD. THE COMMITTEE MADE A POINT ABOUT WHAT IS AN ANOMALY

IN THAT ALTHOUGH THE ABC HAS SUCCESSFULLY RUN RADIO

AUSTRALIA SINCE 1 9 5 0 , RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SERVICE DOES

NOT FORM PART OF THE COMMISSION'S CHARTER. IT HAS

RECOMMENDED THAT RADIO AUSTRALIA REMAIN WITHIN THE ABC AND

THAT ITS VITAL ROLE TO THIS COUNTRY BE RECOGNISED BY

AMENDING LEGISLATION TO INCLUDE OVERSEAS BROADCASTING

SERVICES AS A FUNCTION OF THE ABC.

THE GOVERNMENT IS YET TO MAKE KNOWN ITS DECISIONS

IN RESPECT OF RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE D IX COMMITTEE, BUT I

BELIEVE THERE IS GENERAL SUPPORT FOR THIS PARTICULAR

RECOMMENDATION. I EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO ANNOUNCE THE

GOVERNMENT'S DECISIONS ON THE D IX REPORT IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

IMPROVED PUBLIC ACCESS

APART FROM ITS IMPORTANCE IN PROVIDING ACCESS TO

THE RADIO AUSTRALIA STATION THIS NEW JETTY WILL BE A BOON

TO RESIDENTS, FISHERMEN AND TOURISTS. WE HAVE MADE

ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE NORTHERN TERRITORY GOVERNMENT AND

TELECOM FOR USERS SUCH AS THOSE I HAVE MENTIONED TO SHARE

THE JETTY THUS ENSURING IMPROVED ACCESS TO THIS PART OF

DARWIN'S ENVIRONS.

' ' , . . / 4

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FOR ALTHOUGH WE ARE ONLY 25 KM AS THE CROW FLIES

FROM DARWIN ACROSS THE HARBOUR, I AM TOLD ACCESS BY VEHICLE

REQUIRES A JOURNEY OF ABOUT 160 KM ALONG A LOW-STANDARD

ROAD WHICH IS UNRELIABLE AND OFTEN IMPASSABLE. SO IT CAN

BE READILY APPRECIATED THAT PROVISION OF PUBLIC USE WILL

MEAN GREATLY IMPROVED ACCESS AND REDUCED TRAVELLING TIME

FOR.THOSE WHO LIVE OR WORK ON COX PENINSULA, INCLUDING THE

ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY, OR V IS IT HERE TO FISH OR VIEW THE

PENINSULA AS TOURISTS.

ALTHOUGH THE COMMONWEALTH AND NORTHERN TERRITORY

GOVERNMENTS HAVE COME TO THIS AGREEMENT ON PUBLIC USE I

SHOULD REITERATE THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE JETTY IS

TO ALLOW TELECOM TO SERVICE AND OPERATE THE RADIO AUSTRALIA

TRANSMITTERS. IT HAS BEEN BUILT TO RESIST CYCLONES AND THE

COST OF APPROXIMATELY $1 MILLION REFLECTS THE HIGHER

STANDARD OF BUILDING CONSTRUCTION REQUIRED. THE NORTHERN

TERRITORY GOVERNMENT CONTRIBUTED $275 000 TOWARDS THE COST

TO HELP TO ENSURE THAT THE STANDARD REQUIRED FOR PUBLIC

ACCESS WAS MET.

I SHOULD MENTION THAT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE

DESIGN AND RESTORATION OF THE JETTY HAS RESTED WITH. THE

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND CONSTRUCTION WHICH HAS ALSO

SUPPLIED AND INSTALLED A 66 kV SUBMARINE CABLE FROM DARWIN

TO PROVIDE MAINS POWER TO RADIO AUSTRALIA AND THIS

PENINSULA.

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4

THIS CABLE SUPPLEMENTS REPAIRED CABLES WHICH

WERE OTHER CASUALTIES OF THE CYCLONE - PROBABLY AS A

RESULT OF SH IPS' ANCHORS DRAGGING ACROSS THEM DURING THE

STORM,

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IN ALL, THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE WORK I HAVE JUST

DESCRIBED AND ASSOCIATED WORKS IS AROUND $ 4 .5 M ILLION,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I HAVE PLEASURE IN

DECLARING THIS IMPORTANT FACILITY OPEN.