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Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Page: 2153

Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia) (17:50): I seek leave to make a brief statement with respect to the amendments.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Kroger ) (17:50): Leave is granted for two minutes.

Senator BIRMINGHAM: Thank you. I shall make it brief and try to cover both amendments at once. In relation to the amendment that I think we are considering first—that is, the one relating to self-help solutions and sites and the potential to be able to pool funds—this was an area that I spent some time discussing in my remarks during the second reading debate. The coalition are favourably disposed to support the motion of the Greens in that regard. We think that it makes a lot of sense, that it provides positive outcomes for communities in terms of increasing the scope of terrestrial services and has the opportunity to provide positive outcomes for taxpayers by minimising the amount spent on satellite subsidies. So I indicate our support in that regard.

In relation to the amendment relating to a review, which I think we will deal with subsequently, the coalition will not be supporting that amendment. I hope the government are in a process of, shall I say, 'continuous learning' with regard to the digital switchover—that is, that as problems are uncovered in each region, they actually learn the lessons and address them before the next region, and in particular address them before we get to the 2013 switchover of metropolitan areas around Australia. I do not know that a formal review part-way through the process is going to add to this. I think it is far more important for the government to actually be learning those lessons as they go, fixing it as they go and getting it right as they go. That is what the coalition would be urging them to do. Therefore we will not be supporting the amendment on sheet 7053 pertaining to a review.