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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6662

Mr ALBANESE (Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government) (6:01 PM) —I move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

The Senate has agreed to amendments to the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television) Bill 2010 to address issues raised by the Senate committee in its report to the bill and by industry stakeholders since the bill’s introduction. The amendments help facilitate a more effective satellite service and assist the switchover to digital-only television. They also make various technical and other changes to the bill, originally passed in this House on 13 May 2010. The government amendments extend the current exemption from the Australian Content Standard and the Children’s Television Standards and from captioning requirements on multichannel services until digital switchover is completed nationally by 31 December 2013. This will ensure that regional broadcasters can continue to provide the full range of digital services.

The government amendments will also facilitate the rollout of the full range of commercial digital television services to the smaller regional licence areas of South Australia, Broken Hill and Griffith. This will allow the commercial broadcasters in these areas to terrestrially provide an equivalent range of digital television services to those available in the metropolitan and larger regional licence areas. The government amendments also address concerns regarding the ability of the new satellite services viewers to access third party services such as the National Indigenous Television service. Passage of this bill will be a major component of the switchover to digital television, which begins in Mildura at the end of this month.