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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1734


Mr McGAURAN —Can the Minister for Communications give an assurance to non-metropolitan Australians that on the introduction of Aussat Pty Ltd television services regionalism on a State and local basis will not be subjugated to centralised interests?


Mr DUFFY —I thank the honourable member for Gippsland for his question. As the honourable member and other honourable members will be aware, last year the policy of the Government on this matter was announced in this Parliament. The Government remains committed to existing policies concerning the provision of commercial radio and television to the remote areas of Australia and, in particular, the remote commercial television service known as RCTS. However, unlike governments in the past, we are also concerned to see that those areas receive an extension of services beyond RCTS. For that reason the Forward Development Unit was set up within the Department of Communications to look at the first steps in the equalisation of services. One of the most important steps in moving towards equalisation will be the supplementary licence scheme. That has to move more quickly than was expected and this Government has a commitment to do that. But in answer to the first part of the question, the Government remains committed to existing policies.