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Monday, 4 September 2006
Page: 5


Senator CONROY (12:51 PM) —Labor will support the government’s opposition to item 3 in schedule 1 of the bill. If enacted, item 3 would require licensees in remote areas to apply to ACMA to provide digital services within 12 months of 1 January 2006. The government’s opposition to this item will mean it is effectively left up to ACMA’s discretion to determine when applications need to be made. Labor accepts that it would be advisable to allow broadcasters and the regulator some more flexibility in deciding when digital broadcasts will commence. Given, however, that the explanatory memorandum to the bill states that item 3 was intended to encourage an early start to digital transmission, I invite the minister to indicate whether she has any advice on when services are likely to commence in remote licence areas, particularly in Western Australia.