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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2025

Senator KEEFFE (QUEENSLAND) -Did the Minister for the Media report earlier this year that the Government, in making additional funds available to the Australian Broadcasting Commission, not only would be concentrating on the provision of more Australian content in radio and television programs of the Australian Broadcasting Commission but also would be taking steps to extend and expand the regional news service of the Commission? Did the Minister indicate at that time that it was contemplated that a regional news service would be extended to Mackay? Can he say what steps, if any, have been taken by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to provide a regional news service to Mackay, such as is enjoyed by the people of Maryborough, Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - It is a fact that this Government, by making available, speaking from recollection, an additional $10m to the Australian Broadcasting Commission last financial year and an additional $16m over and above that sum this financial year for operational expenditure, set out to bring about an increased Australian content in the Commission's radio and television programming and also to extend its regional news services throughout Australia. I think that last year additional regional services were provided to Maryborough, Rockhampton and Cairns. Of course, the service was provided to Townsville previously. Speaking from recollection, the regional news services were provided also to Alice Springs and to the northwestern portion of Tasmania. My colleague, Dr Patterson, the honourable member for Dawson in another place and Minister for Northern Development, made representations to me last year for this same service to be provided to Mackay. Provision was made in the Estimates this financial year for a regional service to be provided to Mackay. As a result of my raising the matter with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, I was able to advise Dr Patterson recently that the service would be commencing in Mackay as from, I think, 24 November this year.

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