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Thursday, 11 September 1958
Page: 1120

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Regarding the first part of the honorable member's question, namely, the progress that has been made in stage 2 of the plans for the development of television in Australia, the position is that stage 2 provides for national stations to be established in the four remaining capital cities that have not television so far - Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart. The plans for the commencement of those national stations are proceeding according to my previous announcements on the matter. That is to say, sites have been obtained, and work is proceeding in most cases on the development of studios and transmission equipment. It is confidently expected that commencement of the national service by the announced date, that is, some time in November this year for Brisbane, and early in 1960 for the other cities, will be achieved.

The second part of stage 2 deals with the application for commercial licences in those four cities. Later this morning I shall make a brief statement regarding the applications in Brisbane and Adelaide, and I expect that the Australian Broadcasting Control Board will be making its report to me, for presentation to the Government, on the applications from Perth and Hobart within about a month. That deals with stage 2.

The honorable member asked when stage 3 was likely to commence. That, of course, is a matter for policy determination, and has not yet been considered. I did indicate, when I announced the commencement of stage 2, that the Government would proceed with stage 3 when stage 2 was nearing completion. So it will be some considerable time - at least next year - before stage 3, which will extend television into country areas, is again considered by the Government. The honorable member asked whether, in stage 3, use would be made of such relay facilities as booster stations, micro-wave, and so on. The method of extending television into the country will vary according to the conditions applying in each particular area, conditions such as the nature of the station and the nature of the terrain. There are no real technical difficulties involved in the extension of television. The main consideration is its financial impact on the economy of the country. According to the conditions, booster stations, repeater stations, or relay of some sort, either by micro-wave or co-« axial cable, could be used, and probably will be used in various ways in different circumstances.

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