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Thursday, 29 March 2007
Page: 130


Mr Murphy asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, in writing, on 6 February 2007:

(1)   Further to the reply to question No 5284, will the Minister rule out News Limited being allowed to purchase, own and control the Channel Ten Television Network; if not, why not.

(2)   When will the Minister grant a fourth free-to-air television licence to a new media company.

(3)   When will the Minister grant another pay-TV television licence to a new media company.


Mr McGauran (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   No. The honourable member’s attention is directed to the Minister’s answer to Question 5284, which explains the role of the ACCC in assessing competition issues relating to media mergers and acquisitions.

(2)   As outlined in the Government’s 2004 Election Policy document, 21st Century Broadcasting, the Government’s opinion is that current arrangements with the three existing commercial television licences in major markets appear to be working well in delivering quality free-to-air television to Australians. The Government also believes that the issuing of commercial television licences has historically been a matter for the government of the day. Therefore, as part of the recent package of media reforms, power to issue a fourth commercial television licence has been vested in the government of the day.

(3)   Section 96 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 enables ACMA to issue subscription television broadcasting licences. There is no regulatory inhibition to new subscription television operators entering the Australian market.