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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1490

Senator GUILFOYLE (VICTORIA) - I refer the Minister for the Media to the recent announcement of the expansion of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's network in Melbourne and Sydney. By what means and on what date did the ABC apply for the additional stations in Melbourne and Sydney? Why was this fact not made public so that commercial interests and public broadcasting organisations could have an equal opportunity of applying for the proposed licences? On what precise frequencies will the ABC stand-by transmitters operate in Melbourne and Sydney for the new amplitude modulation stations?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - If the honourable senator reads the reports of the Australian Broadcasting Commission I think she will see that for some time the Commission has been requesting that at least one other outlet for its radio programs be provided because of the tremendous amount of time taken up in broadcasting the proceedings of this Parliament. In the time that I have been Minister for the Media I have been conducting discussions with the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, the latter organisation being the body responsible for the planning of these operations, to see what additional outlet could be given to the Australian Broadcasting Commission for these purposes.

The honourable senator also will recall that during the recent Federal election the Prime Minister announced that a Labor Government, upon being returned to office, would do all it could to provide a third network for the Australian Broadcasting Commission. That having been declared to be the Government's policy, implementation of it is now being endeavoured. I cannot say when the ABC first made the proposal but I know it was some time ago. It was at this time or a little earlier than this time last year that I had discussions with the ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Postmaster-General's Department about this matter. In relation to the use of the 2 stand-by transmitters, all that we have done as a Government is to invite the ABC to make use of the stand-by transmitters. I understand that the ABC has said that it will investigate the matter. If I recall correctly, I saw a statement by the Chairman of the ABC, Professor Downing, last week that the ABC would probably make use of the second stand-by transmitter in Melbourne by conducting community broadcasting operations.

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