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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 630

Senator BOURNE (10.20 p.m.) —I move:

  After clause 4, page 2, add the following clause:

``5. After section 96 of the Principal Act the following section is inserted:

Monitoring of cross-media ownership of licences allocated under section 96

`96A.(1) The ABA, in consultation with the Trade Practices Commission, must monitor the cross-media ownership of the holders of licences allocated under section 96 in the context of the objects of this Act, particularly paragraph 3(c).

`(2) If, as a result of that monitoring, the ABA is concerned that the objects of this Act are being undermined, the ABA must report that concern to the Minister.

`(3) The Minister must cause a copy of a report under this section to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after receiving the report.'.

This amendment, which adds section 96A, requires the ABA, in consultation with the Trade Practices Commission, to monitor cross-media ownership and report to the Minister, who must then table that report in both Houses of this Parliament. This provides the flexibility to deal with developments in what is well and truly an emerging industry. The TPC procedures under the Broadcasting Services Act, plus its ongoing powers, allow the TPC to intervene in any pay TV licence allocation, licence transfer or change in ownership and control.

  Satellite pay TV services will be receivable in areas where few other services are likely to be available. Therefore, they may be highly influential. They should, therefore, be subject to specific cross-media rules. This amendment extends those cross-media rules to all forms of pay TV delivery. It also extends the rules to satellite licensees after 1997, which was not formerly in the Act.