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Tuesday, 6 September 1983
Page: 444

Question No. 249

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

(1) When will a decision be made on the reform of the broadcast frequency spectrum.

(2) What (a) changes are being considered and (b) effects will these changes have on radio and television channels.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Consultations between my Department and Industry have commenced on proposed principles for re-assignment of some parts of the radio frequency spectrum used by broadcasting. Once these consultations, which will include the Broadcasting Council, have been completed, I shall seek Government endorsement of the conclusions. The timing of a final decision depends on the duration of the consultations with Industry. I hope a final decision will be announced within the next few months.

(2) (a) Existing or proposed Government initiatives in broadcasting are creating pressure on the Very High Frequency (VHF) band. In Australia, VHF television channels 3, 4 and 5 occupy most of the spectrum space internationally used for Frequency Modulation (FM) radio, namely 88-108 MHz (Band II). In order to ensure sufficient VHF-FM frequencies will be available throughout Australia for the implementation of new intiatives in broadcasting, it is proposed that some television stations currently occupying frequencies in Band II will be assigned alternative frequencies.

(b) It is expected that these changes will make possible the further development of FM radio (ABC, commercial, and public) and the provision of additional television services in regional areas.