Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 17 June 1996
Page: 1661

(Question No. 45)


Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Minister for Communications and the Arts, upon notice, on 7 May 1996:

(1) Can details be provided of Telstra's proposal to establish a sea phone transmitter station on Mt Bowen, Hinchinbrook Island, including an explanation as to why, when and whether the proposal will go ahead.

(2) Can a list be provided of the initiatives which have been undertaken with regard to this proposal, including such initiatives as site inspections, environmental impact studies and feasibility reports and reasons behind the delay in finalising the proposal.

(3) Can advice be provided as to whether the proposal has been submitted to the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories (DEST) for approval and details of any dealings or discussions which have occurred between Telstra and DEST regarding the proposal.

(4) Can a list and a map be provided of Australian coastal areas where sea phones can be used, and the positions of Telstra and other sea phone transmitter stations, including the dates and reasons for the establishment of these facilities.

(5) Can details be provided of the marine communications currently available to vessels travelling in the coastal areas between Lucinda and Dunk Island in far north Queensland.

(6) What are the Federal Government's plans to improve marine communications, including access to sea phone in the coastal area between Lucinda to Dunk Island.

(7) Are the marine communications currently available to vessels travelling in the area between Lucinda and Dunk Island adequate to ensure marine and off-shore safety.


Senator Alston —The answer to the honourable senator's question, based on advice provided by Telstra, is as follows:

(1) Telstra considered a proposal to expand the VHF Seaphone network to include establishment of a site on Mt Bowen, Hinchinbrook Island. However, following an assessment of demand for seaphone services in the Hinchinbrook area, Telstra decided not to proceed with the installation.

(2)-(3) See response to question (1).

(4) Telstra has advised that coastal areas around the following locations have Seaphone access:

(a) The eastern seaboard from Melbourne to Torres Strait but excluding areas around Shelburne Bay, Princess Charlotte Bay and Hinchinbrook.

(b) Northern Tasmania, Hobart, Bruny Island, St Marys.

(c) Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln.

(d) Perth, Julian Bay, Geralton, Carnarvon.

(e) Darwin, Dampier, Port Hedland, Broome and Grove.

Attached is a map indicating the above coverage sites. These sites have been installed over a period of time in response to demand for commercial VHF radiotelephone services.

Telstra has advised of the following list of Seaphone transmitter sites:

Queensland:

Townsville, Weipa, Torres Strait (Moa, Darnley and Thursday Islands), Lockhart River, Cooktown, Cairns, Ayr/Home Hill, Whitsunday Island, Shute Harbour, Prudhoe Island, Port Clinton, Yeppoon, Gladstone, Fraser Island, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane.

New South Wales:

Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour, Camden Haven, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Hawkesbury, Sydney, Nowra, Eden.

Victoria:

Melbourne, Lakes Entrance, Port Welshpool.

Tasmania:

Devonport, St Mary's, Bruny Island, Hobart.

South Australia:

Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln.

Western Australia:

Perth, Jurian Bay, Geraldton, Carnarvon, Dampier, Port Hedland, Broome.

Northern Territory:

Darwin, Gove.

(5)   Telstra advises that the following marine communications are currently available to vessels travelling in the coastal areas between Lucinda and Dunk Island:

Telstra Radphone—provides medium to long distance high frequency radiophone communications through an operator located at the Townsville Maritime Communications station (MCS). It enables a vessel to speak with virtually any telephone subscriber in Australia or globally.

Telstra Seagram—provides the means to exchange radiotelegrams printed messages between vessels at sea and virtually any destination in Australia and globally. These messages are exchanged by radiotelephony between the vessel and Townsville MCS.

Telstra Mobile Satellite and Radio Services also offers a range of services through the Inmarsat (the International Maritime Satellite Organisation) satellite network for distress and safety communications and for high quality direct dial telephone, telex, facsimile and data links.

In addition to satellite services designed for commercial vessels, two services are also suitable for smaller vessels such as fishing trawlers and cruising yachts:

   Satcom M—offering voice, facsimile and data facilities, and;

   Satcom C—offering text and data facilities.

      SOLAS service, provided by Telstra under contract from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), supplies mariners with an emergency service which continually monitors the international distress and safety radiotelephony frequencies of 2182, 4125, 6215, 8291 kHz and during 0700 to 1900 hours, 12290 and 16420 kHz. In addition to monitoring the international distress and safety radiotelephony frequencies, these facilities also provide regular broadcasts of weather bulletins, weather and navigation warnings.

(6) The Department of Transport advises that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority monitors the adequacy of its maritime communications services nationally to ensure that they meet the standards required by international obligations. Telstra advises that it is continually reviewing its existing communication network for commercial services to ensure consistency with the level of customer demand.

(7) The Department of Transport advises that the maritime distress and safety communications provided by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority meet international obligations for vessels falling within the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. The adequacy of maritime communications for other vessels, travelling in the coastal area between Lucinda and Dunk Island, is a matter for the Queensland Government.

Telstra advises that marine safety services are currently provided by Telstra under contract from AMSA.