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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 983

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Minister representing the Post master-General, upon notice:

(1)   What has been the result of discussions between the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Australian Council for the Arts concerning the development of work opportunities for actors, writers and directors in the Australian television industry.

(2)   Has the Australian Broadcasting Control Board yet decided when a further increase in Australian drama requirements should be made; if not, is it contemplating any increase in the present drama quota requirements.

Senator GREENWOOD-The PostmasterGeneral has provided the. following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   Reference to discussions between the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Australian Council for the Arts was included in the Twenty-third Annual Report of the Board in the following terms:. 524. The Board discussed with the Australian Council for the Arts, the possibility that financial assistance might be given to producers of pilot programmes for prospective television drama series. The Council decided to make funds available for the support of programme producers wishing to undertake work of high quality or of a special nature where uncertainty as to viewer acceptance and high development costs may inhibit television stations from commissioning such work. The Council invited applications from producers for financial assistance towards the production of programmes of this nature including pilots for drama series, single dramas and features and documentaries. The Board was consulted about the relative merits of the applications received and looks forward to seeing the productions which will result from the joint initiative of the Board and the Council.'

The outcome of these discussions was that the Council for the Arts provided financial assistance to 4 television pilot programmes and 4 scriptwriters. The Board is prepared to undertake further activity of this nature.

(2)   The Board's Australian content requirements have been increased progressively since their introduction in 1966, the most recent increase became operative on 23rd July 1972, with the requirement relating to the popular viewing period between 6.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. being raised from 45 per cent to 50 per cent. The Board's requirements now call for 50 per cent of transmission time, both overall and in popular viewing time, to be occupied by Australian programmes, including 6 hours per month of first release drama presented during the 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. period and 4 hours per month of programmes specifically designed for school-age children and presented at times when they have access to the receiver.

The question of further variations in the requirements is being kept under constant review by the Board. The Board has always provided stations with approximately 12 months notice before requiring them to meet new or changed conditions so that the necessary programme production arrangements might be made. The Board will assess the effect of the latest increase before making further changes.

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