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Thursday, 9 December 1971
Page: 4491


Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) - 1 do not think that anybody will argue with the tremendous benefits which have accrued to those fortunate areas in the country with the advent of television. I can only endorse the remarks made by the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) and try to emphasise to the PostmasterGeneral (Sir Alan Hulme) that the various problems associated with delays should bc solved because there are still many areas in Australia that deserve, qualify for and should get television as soon as possible. In regard to the 38 stations of which the Postmaster-General has given details tonight, 23 of them are in Queensland. I am sure that my colleague the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden) would agree that that is a very good proportion. On the other hand there is a great need for television in the areas of Western Australia to which the honourable member for Kalgoorlie referred. While I am on my feet I would like to pay a tribute to the work force of engineers and other staff of the Postmaster-General's Department who have worked continuously, one might say, over the years on the installation of television stations in the remote areas of Australia. These men are a dedicated band. I have met many of them in the north. I think they deserve commendation. 1 know that these men, particularly the engineers working in remote areas, are often frustrated by the lack of services and the delays in providing equipment from overseas. It is not the work force that is the problem, but the delays in providing equipment.

Let me refer to the target completion dates mentioned by the PostmasterGeneral. 1 assume that the list of television facilities he mentioned is not the complete list. 1 want to refer specifically to Queensland and to those areas in central Queensland that J would call the missing link. AH of the areas mentioned by the PostmasterGeneral follow railway lines, such as the Townsville-Mount Isa line, the ToowoombaCharlevilleCunnamulla line with links to Goondiwindi, Dirranbandi and St George, and the Rockhampton-Longreach line. I want to refer to the area north of Clermont, which is one of the stations mentioned. The area between Clermont and Charters Towers is what one might call a missing link. A lot of people - small cattle producers, big cattle producers and coal miners - live in this area. It is an area which is growing with tremendous rapidity.

I want to ask the Postmaster-General when the latest settlement in the Goonyella area can expect to get a booster station or translator service. There is a town growing rapidly there. I believe that there is a need to give television to the people in these areas as quickly as possible. I would like to ask the Postmaster-General about the standard of television services in the remote areas. As he well knows, many of the existing stations are not satisfactory. There are still bugs in them. I hope that some consideration will be given to ironing out these bugs.

The Postmaster-General will recall that on several occasions 1 have written to him about the Proserpine area. There seems to be some technical problem in that area which is causing very poor reception. 1 think that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board carried out a survey there approximately 12 months ago to try to iron out the technicalities that were causing the rather poor reception, particularly in places like Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach, Bloomsbury and Proserpine. The question is one not only of continuous construction to provide these facilities for people in the remoter areas of Australia but also of improving the existing facilities. I hope that consideration is given in the works programme to some , of these missing links and particularly lo the area, between Clermont and Charters Towers, in Area 3 of the Brigalow and in the Belyando-Suttor area. 1 hope that the programme will really concentrate on the new area of Goonyella and on the problems with the existing television stations.







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