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Thursday, 3 November 1983
Page: 2291

Mr HUNT —My question is addressed to the Minister for Communications. Are the second Homestead and Community Broadcasting Satellite Service transponders on the proposed satellite to be allocated to three big Sydney media interests? What effect would this have on broadcasters in all other States? If no decision has been made, will the Minister give an assurance that the Government will honour its promise to people in remote country areas that they will receive programs, other than those of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, on a low cost receiving dish? Will the Minister assure the House that the Government has not sold out or is not about to sell out the people in other States and those in remote areas for Sydney media interests? Will the Minister refer the allocation issue for public hearing by the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal?

Mr DUFFY —The subject of the honourable member's question relates, as I have said in the House in the last fortnight, to matters currently before Cabinet. It is anticipated that decisions in the area to which he has referred will be made within the next fortnight. In respect of the specific matter raised, that is, the use of the transponders, the issue involves reaching a balance in providing a diversity of service not only to remote areas but also to country areas and generally provincial areas which require, and have indicated quite clearly that they require, a broader range of television and radio programs. I can, however, assure the honourable member that the Government has taken into account in all of its considerations, and will continue to take into account, the balance between that diversity and the protection of regional stations. The Government has under consideration the matters raised by the honourable member.