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Wednesday, 13 March 1968

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - In relation to the latter part of the honourable member's question, I cannot state when a permanent highpowered station will be established in the Cairns area. Tremendous cost will be associated with its establishment. Within the last few days I have had from the Australian Broadcasting Control Board a further report on this matter. This is under study by me at the moment. When a decision is made 1 shall make information available to the House. Referring to the first part of the question, I appreciate that the gentleman in Babinda refused to take out a television viewer's licence, refused to pay a fine and in fact served two or three days in gaol as a result. I should like to inform the House, and the honourable member in particular, that the Broadcasting and Television Act requires any person who purchases a television set to pay a licence fee. In relation to television it is impossible to lay down, as perhaps one can in relation to radio, that reception is possible within a certain area but impossible outside that area. This varies according to the topography of many areas of Australia and therefore the Act recognises only that if there is a set, a licence fee must be paid. This particular gentleman, of course, sells television sets. Doubtless he had induced many people in his particular area, notwithstanding that it was indicated earlier that reception would be poor, to take sets. They have to pay licence fees and he, with them, has to pay his fee. The fact that he has served a term in gaol does not relieve him of the necessity to find the money for a licence fee.

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