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Wednesday, 13 November 1985
Page: 2100

Senator KILGARIFF(5.34) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I wish to speak only briefly today, on the tabling of this report. As the report shows, this year has been a hectic one for Aussat Pty Ltd, with the launch of the first satellite and the imminent commencement of satellite services to remote areas of Australia. I feel sure that the people of the outback were as relieved as anyone else in Australia when initial hitches in the launch of our satellite from the space shuttle were overcome. People in the remote communities or on stations in the outback are waiting to receive television and radio services which so many of us in the more densely populated parts of Australia take for granted. It is probably difficult for many of us to understand just how much impact the satellite will have upon remote communities, which will now receive news, entertainment and educational programmes on radio and initially Australian Broadcasting Corporation television. Eventually commercial services will be delivered, once remote television licences have been granted to applicants.

I note that the second report of the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal has just been tabled. That report deals with the granting of a licence to broadcast in the north-eastern region of Australia. After consideration of the various characteristics of the region and an examination of the capabilities and fitness of the various applicants to deliver an appropriate service to the community, the Tribunal has awarded the licence to Queensland Satellite Television, a consortium of nine broadcasting companies already operating in Queensland. I understand that the licence for Central Australia will be coming under consideration shortly and I hope that a satisfactory applicant will be appointed and will serve all elements of the Territory community. Of course, the facilities offered by Aussat do not come cheaply. Those who wish to receive transmissions must purchase a receiving dish and other equipment which will cost up to $2,000.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The time allowed for consideration of government papers has expired.