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ABC Radio services to remote communities strengthened.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Media Release

Media Contact: Katherine Meier 0417 441 141

120/07 Monday 27 August 2007

ABC Radio services to remote communities strengthened

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan announced today that a number of remote communities in Western Australian and Queensland will benefit from strengthened ABC Local Radio services.

“With $1,318,000 Government funding, the ABC has purchased two portable transmitters and will install satellite downlinks to provide Local Radio programming to Carnarvon, Derby, Geraldton, Karratha, Kununurra in Western Australia and Thursday Island in Queensland.

“This will significantly strengthen the durability of ABC Local Radio services in these communities,” Senator Coonan said.

ABC Local Radio is estimated to cover more than 99 per cent of the population and is often the only source of vital weather and emergency service information for Australians living in rural, regional and remote Australia.

The current services are fed via other transmitters, and are vulnerable to disruption by severe weather. The new satellite downlinks will enable ABC Local Radio to continue broadcasting during bad weather conditions.

In the event of the satellite downlinks also being affected by extreme weather conditions, Western Australia and Queensland will each have a portable transmitter.

“These backup transmitters will enable the ABC to quickly re-establish Local Radio transmission services following an emergency,” Senator Coonan said.

“The transmitters, which can be tuned to any FM transmission frequency, are designed for use in any location and for set up by two people in a matter of hours.

“The ABC has advised that it will seek the cooperation of local emergency services if necessary to get the equipment to the target area,” Senator Coonan said.