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Tuesday, 3 December 1974
Page: 3011


Senator GIETZELT (New South Wales) -Mr Deputy President,I seek leave to make a statement concerning an inquiry by the Joint Committee on Prices into the effect of the abolition of licence fees in the 1974-75 Budget on hire charges for television sets.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT-Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.


Senator GIETZELT - The Committee's terms of reference allow it to inquire into and, as appropriate, report upon complaints arising from prices charged by the private sector. Honourable senators will realise that these terms of reference may be discharged not only by tabling a report in the Parliament but also by means of a statement made in both Houses. The Committee prefers such statements to the tabling of reports if the statements are brief because this enables the Committee to bring the matter to the notice of the Parliament more speedily.

The 1974-75 Budget abolished licence fees for television viewers. The Committee was made aware of the fact that some television rental firms did not intend reducing their hire charges notwithstanding the abolition of the licence fees. The Committee moved quickly and invited the public to inform the Committee of instances of television rental firms not passing on the benefits of the abolition of the fees. The Committee received a number of complaints on this matter and sought clarification of the pricing policy of the firms which were complained against. The firms contacted included large national rental firms such as Radio Rentals Pty Ltd. In addition, following the Committee's Press statement, Canberra Television Services, one of the largest of the national rental firms, announced that it intended reducing rental charges following the abolition of licence fees. The Committee was pleased to receive correspondence from members of the public advising that the benefits of the cancellation of the licence fees had been passed on to them as a result of the Committee's Press statement. I seek leave of the Senate to incorporate in Hansard a table showing the response of television rental firms to the inquiries made by the Committee.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Is the table an appropriate one for incorporation?


Senator GIETZELT - Yes, it is just a very brief schedule of 7 firms and quite factually sets out the circumstances of the Committee's inquiry.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT- Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-

 


Senator GIETZELT - I thank the Senate. To summarise what is in the table, of the 7 firms contacted by the Committee following the abolition of the licence fees, four have reduced their charges; two have postponed increases; and the remaining firm hires television sets to hospital patients, such sets not being subject to licence fees. In conclusion, I would reiterate that the consumer should once again be made aware of the advantages of shopping around when his present contract expires so that he may choose a firm whose prices and services offer best value for money.







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