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Thursday, 28 November 1974
Page: 2900

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) -Can the Minister for the Media confirm that an inter-ministerial conference on educational broadcasting for schools is scheduled for this week? Is it true that this event is the first of its kind for 5 years? What does the Minister hope will evolve from this conference in the shape of benefits for the school children of Australia? Does the Minister see the conference as something that will meet the needs of those schools that cannot receive national broadcasts on network transmissions at the moment?

Senator Sir Magnus Cormack - Mr President,I take a point of order. As many honourable senators are interested in this matter, could the answer be deferred and the information given as a ministerial statement by leave?

The PRESIDENT - I call Senator Douglas McClelland, the Minister for the Media.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - I can tell the honourable senator that my colleague the Minister for Education, Mr Beazley, and I had convened a conference with State Ministers of Education to take place in May of this year. That conference had to be cancelled because of the decision then to hold an election following the double dissolution of Parliament. The conference has now been re-convened and will take place in Canberra tomorrow. In attendance will be my colleague, Mr Beazley, all State Ministers of Education and, or course, myself as the Minister for the Media. The last time a conference of this nature took place was in 1969. The honourable senator will realise that since that time, in the last 5 years, there have been amazing technological advances in aids and facilities that are available for educational broadcasting and in the media field generally. The purpose of the conference is to explore the latest facilities available and to find out ways and means in which they can be used. I should point out, in regard to the last part of the honourable senator's question, that whilst most of the population is able to receive the excellent service provided by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in educational broadcasting the fact is, as honourable senators well know, that there are many individual schools and students in remote parts of Australia that are inadequately catered for in this respect. One of the objectives of the conference is to ameliorate the conditions from which they suffer.

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