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Wednesday, 17 May 1972
Page: 2740

Mr Hayden (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

(1)   Did the Australian Broadcasting Control Board in its reports for 1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70 and 1970-71 indicate that television stations TEN and TVQ failed to meet the Australian drama quota content or the screening times for Australian drama set down by the Board.

(2)   Did any of these reports indicate any other breaches of the Board's standards by either of these stations.

(3)   In relation to the Australian drama quota can he advise for each year, where appropriate, the loss of screening time of Australian drama which occurred as the result of infringement of standards.

(4)   If there is any evidence of recurrent infringement of standards set by the Board, what action was taken against either station, on what occasions and with what result.

Sir Alan Hulme (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The Board's report for 1967-68 shows that both TEN and TVQ failed during that year to meet the Australian Broadcasting Control Board requirement that not less than two hours of Australian drama should be televised each month. The only other occasion on which either of these stations failed to meet the drama requirement was in the case of TEN in 1969-70.

(2)   The Board's reports for the four years in question show that in each of these years, station TVQ failed to meet the requirement that 50 per cent of transmission time should be occupied by programmes credited as being Australian in origin, whilst station TEN did not reach the 50 per cent content requirement in the years 1967-68 and 1968-69. In addition, the Board's reports show that station TVQ failed to provide the required hours monthly of Australian programming in peak viewing time in 1967-68, 1968-69 and 1970-71.

(3)   The effective loss in screening time of Australian drama was approximately 14 hours and 18 hours for station TEN and TVQ respectively in 1967-68 and 3 hours for station TEN in 1969-70. Both stations met the requirements in 1968-69 and 1970-71.

(4)   In its report for 1967-68 the Board stated that the more recently established metropolitan commercial television stations (including TEN Sydney and TVQ Brisbane) were experiencing difficulties in meeting the Board's Australian content requirements, particularly that for two hours per month of Australian drama. In response to special representations which put forward in detail the financial problems facing stations TEN and TVQ, the Board, in February 1968, decided to waive the drama requirement for these stations for the remainder of the financial year. Since that time, station TEN has met all requirements, except for two hours monthly of Australian drama in 1969-70. The Board took up this failure with station TEN and the following year the station exceeded the requirement by a substantial amount. Station TVQ has operated under severe financial difficulties but nevertheless has responded to the Board's directions for an improvement in its Australian content performance. Both TEN and TVQ are at present meeting all the current requirements of the Board which call for 50 per cent overall content, 45 per cent content in peak viewing time from 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m., six hours of first release Australian drama each month in peak viewing time, and four hours each month of constructive programmes for schoolage children.

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