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BROADCASTING LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (DIGITAL TELEVISION SWITCH-OVER) BILL 2008

Order of the day read for the adjourned debate on the motion of the Minister for Human Services (Senator Ludwig)—That this bill be now read a second time.

Debate resumed.

Question put and passed.

Bill read a second time.

The Senate resolved itself into committee for the consideration of the bill.

In the committee

Bill taken as a whole by leave.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Minchin) moved the following amendments together by leave:

 No. 1—Schedule 2, page 4 (after line 13), after item 3, insert:

 3A Clause 2 of Schedule 4

  Insert:

   minimum analog switch-off readiness criteria has the meaning given by clause 5G.

 No. 2—Schedule 2, page 5 (after line 32), after item 4, insert:

 4A At the end of Part 1 of Schedule 4

  Add:

 

5G Minimum analog switch-off readiness criteria

  (1) The Minister must, by legislative instrument, determine minimum analog switch-off readiness criteria.

  (2) The Minister must make a determination under subclause (1) within 6 months of the day on which this Act receives the Royal Assent.


  (3) A determination made under subclause (1) must include criteria against which the television broadcasting services in each local market area can be objectively assessed, to determine whether the following objectives can be met:

 (a) that the transmission of broadcasting services should achieve the same level of coverage and potential reception quality after digital television switch-over as was achieved by the transmission of those service in that area prior to switch-over; and

 (b) that all households which received free to air television coverage in analog mode should be able to receive the same level of coverage after switch-over; and

 (c) that adequate measures have been taken to assist household readiness for analog switch-off, as indicated by household take-up of equipment capable of receiving digital terrestrial free to air television transmission and awareness of analog switch-off and of methods to convert to digital.

   Assessment against readiness criteria

  (4) In relation to each local market area determined under paragraph 5F(1)(a), the Minister must cause a report to be prepared assessing the local market area against the minimum analog switch-off readiness criteria.

  (5) The Minister must cause any report prepared in accordance with subsection (4) to be published on the department's website not less than 6 months prior to the time determined for that area to become a digital-only local market area.

  (6) If a report prepared under subsection (4) discloses that the readiness criteria have not been met for a local market area, the Minister must cause to be published, within 30 days of the publication of the report, a plan to ensure that:

 (a) the criteria are met by the time determined for that area to become a digital-only local market area; or

 (b) the time determined for that area to become a digital-only local market area is extended until the criteria are met; or

 (c) each of the national television broadcasters and commercial television broadcasting licensees for the local market area and the Digital Switchover Taskforce notify the Minister in writing of their agreement that the time should not be varied.

 No. 3—Schedule 2, page 5 (after line 32), after item 4, insert:

 4B At the end of Part 1 of Schedule 4

 

5H Reports on transmission blackspots

   On the first sitting day of each House of the Parliament after each 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October after the making of the first determination under subclause 5G(1), until 1 September 2014, the Minister must cause a report to be laid before each House of the Parliament containing the following information:


 (a) action taken to identify and rectify digital transmission infrastructure that would otherwise prevent the transmission of free to air television broadcasting services in SDTV digital mode in any area achieving the same level of coverage and potential reception quality as was achieved by the transmission of those services in analog mode; and

 (b) the local market areas and regions where digital transmission issues have been identified and how many households will be affected.

Debate ensued.

The question was divided—

Question—That amendments nos 1 and 2 be agreed to—put.

The committee divided—

AYES,33


Senators—
BarnettCoonanKrogerRyan
BernardiCormannMacdonaldScullion
BirminghamEgglestonMasonTroeth
BoswellEllisonMcGauranTrood
BoyceFergusonMinchinWilliams
BrandisFieldingNashXenophon
BushbyFierravanti-WellsParry (Teller)
CashFifieldPayne
ColbeckHumphriesRonaldson

NOES, 31


Senators—
ArbibCrossinHurleyPratt
BilykFarrell (Teller)LudlamSherry
BishopFaulknerLudwigSiewert
Brown, BobFeeneyMarshallStephens
Brown, CarolForshawMcEwenSterle
CameronFurnerMcLucasWong
CollinsHanson-YoungMilneWortley
ConroyHoggMoore

Question agreed to.

Question—That amendment no. 3 be agreed to—put and passed.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill to be reported with amendments.

The Acting Deputy President (Senator Troeth) resumed the chair and the Chair of Committees (Senator Ferguson) reported accordingly.

On the motion of the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Senator Conroy) the report from the committee was adopted and the bill read a third time.