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Tuesday, 29 October 1974
Page: 2022

Senator DAVIDSON (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - In directing my question to the Minister for the Media I seek information relating to his statement earlier this year that, if I remember correctly, many more amplitude modulation channels are available in Australia. If this is so, has any consideration been given to providing more AM channels for teaching purposes? Could this arrangement apply to the 'School of the Air' in Australia which at present shares a single channel with the Royal Flying Doctor Service to which, of course, it must give precedence? Will the Minister look at the situation in isolated areas with a view to setting up low powered AM stations for educational purposes? If this is feasible will he take the matter up with his colleague the Minister for Education and the necessary State authorities?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) -The whole question of the future use of radio for educational purposes is being looked at by the Government. The last conference that took place on this subject between the Postmaster-General in the previous government and the State Ministers for Education was as long ago as 1966. My colleague Mr Beazley, the Minister for Education, and I have been holding discussions on this matter. It was intended earlier this year to hold a conference between Mr Beazley, myself and the State Ministers for Education during last May but that proposal had to be cancelled because of the double dissolution. Since that time we have attempted to find a mutually convenient date to reconvene such a conference between Mr Beazley, myself and State Ministers for Education in order to discuss the matter generally.

A conference has been convened for Friday 29 November at which I expect the overall subject to be discussed generally. At that conference I will have as advisers officers of my own Department, the Australian Broadcasting Commissionas the honourable senator knows the ABC is already engaged to a very large extent in educational broadcasts- the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Australian Post Office. Mr Beazley will have with him officers from his Department as well as, I understand, representatives of the universities generally to advise us on the role we would adopt in our conference with the States.

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