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Tuesday, 6 March 1973
Page: 275

Mr Lynch asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Media, upon notice:

What action has been taken to increase the Australian content of television programs.

Mr Morrison (ST GEORGE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Science) - The Minister for the Media has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

As the honourable member will be aware, representatives of the licencees of the major metropolitan stations met with me at my request on Monday, 5th February, to discuss among other things the capacity of the television industry to undertake increased production of Australian programs, particularly in the field of variety entertainment. Following the meeting, I have discussed with the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the progress it is making in its continuing review of Australian performance and capacity of stations from which it periodically determines increased requirements.

The Board, as is its usual practice, had already Invited a number of organisations, including the appropriate unions to submit their views and it will be meeting with the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations later this year, to discuss with that body (as it is required to do under the provisions of the Broadcasting and Television Acf) the introduction of revised requirements. The Board in its assessment of "the capability of the industry to meet increased requirements will be taking Into account those factors which are known to be likely to affect the Industry's viability, including the effects on revenue of any limitations placed on the advertising of cigarettes, and the costs associated with the Introduction of a colour television service in March 1975.

The Board has advised me that during the period between June 1972 (when the latest revision of the Australian content requirements was introduced) and

November 1972 (when the usual holiday lay-off in Australian program production commenced) all metropolitan stations met all of the Board's requirements, as did almost all country stations (with the exception of a small number which, because of limited technical facilities, were unable to obtain sufficient program material in a form usable by them).

I have advised the Board that in its reports to me on applications for renewal of licences I want to be advised of the station's record in maintaining its Australian content quota. In the cases of 2 country stations which to date have been drawn to my attention, I have advised the licencee that the application for renewal has been approved on the understanding that the station will meet all the Australian content requirements laid down by the Board. I have asked the Board to keep me informed on the matter.

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