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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 427

Mr Innes asked the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, upon notice, on 21 April 1980:

(1)   Does the entry labelled Citizen Band in the list of radiocommunication stations licensed in Australia as at 31 March 1 979 contained in the Annual Report of the Postal and Telecommunications Department for 1978-79 refer to (a) individual operating CB sets or rather (b) licences held by operators; if it refers to neither, what does it refer to.

(2)   Is the cost of a CB licence $25.

(3)   If so, if the entry refers to licences held by operators and if there were 179,332 licensed CB operators as at 31 March 1979, should Commonwealth revenue derived from CB licences have been $4,458,300 in the period 1 April 1978 to 31 March 1979.

(4)   Does the Annual Report also refer to Receipts 1978-79, Licence Fees- CB $2,525,700; if so, does this mean that between March 1979 and June 1979 some 78,000 CB operators did not renew their licences; if not, what reasons were there for this apparent shortfall in revenue.

Mr Staley - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The 179,332 Citizen Band stations indicated in the Annual Report of the Postal and Telecommunications Department for 1978-79 refers to the number of Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) station licences recorded in the Departmental records as being on issue as at 3 1 March 1 979.

(2)   The cost of a CB licence is $25, but this fee will drop to $20onl July 1980.

(3)   and (4) The CBRS licence revenue for the period 1 April 1978 to 31 March 1979 would have been of the order of $4.5m if all licences on issue as at 3 March had been renewed. The annual report correctly shows that Receipts for 1978-79 for CB licence fees were $2,525,700.

There is a discrepancy between the actual licence fee revenue and the theoretical revenue because of the number of licences which, at 30 June 1 979, were still recorded as licence issues but fell in the categories of 'unpaid renewals' or 'pending cancellations'. Due to the limited information processing resources available it is normal practice of the Department to rate the issue of licences a higher priority than the cancellation of licences, due to non-payment of renewal fees. There is also a planned delay in cancelling licences to allow for late payments.

The total effect of these factors at the end of the fiscal year 1978-79 was that some 72,000 licences were still technically on issue although the renewal fees had not been paid. The number of licences, technically on issue at 30 June 1979, had dropped to 173,507 (i.e. by 5,825 from the March 1979 figure of 179,332). However, a decrease in the number of licences issued for stations in the Citizens Band Radio Service is a natural outcome following the announcement that from 1 March 1979 a station licence could cover the operation of five Citizens Band transceiver units in lieu of the previous arrangement of one licence for each unit.

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