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Wednesday, 19 March 1980
Page: 845

Senator Ryan (ACT) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Post and Telecommunications, upon notice, on 12 September 1979:

(   1 ) Why have marine radio and base station licence fees been increased when Citizen's Band licence fees have not.

(2)   What action has been taken by the Government supporting the use of safety equipment, particularly marine radios, by small vessels involved in offshore recreational fishing.

(3)   Is the Government discouraging the use of marine radios as an important item of safety equipment by increasing the cost of marine radio licences.

Senator Chaney - The Minister for Post and Telecommunications has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   An amendment to the Wireless Telegraphy Regulations providing for the issue of a Citizen Band radio station licence for a fee of $25.00 came into effect on 1 March 1979. New procedures instituted at that time provide for up to five transceivers to be operated under one licence. In view of the short time that had elapsed since the introduction of these arrangements, further adjustments to Citizen Band licence fees were considered to be inappropriate. Recent licence fee increases were particularly directed toward those categories which contain the majority of commercial users. It is recognised, however, that a number of voluntary service organisations and recreational boating clubs make use of marine radio services, and the Department is now working to achieve a fee schedule that more appropriately reflects the use made of the radio spectrum by particular services.

(2)   and (3) The Department has recently arranged, in consultation with representatives of yacht clubs and marine safety organisations, for additional frequencies to be made available for the 27 MHz Harbour Mobile Radio Service to improve the efficiency of the safety channel, and for the provision of increased Departmental monitoring and regulatory support. The criteria under which safety organisations may qualify for concessional licence fees have also been reviewed to provide a wider application of the concession than has been the case previously, with a view to encouraging the use of radio by marine safety organisations. I announced details of these arrangements late last year. These new arrangements result from the first stage of a comprehensive review of licence fees paid by users of radiocommunications services.

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