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$10 million regional communications partnership

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$10 Million regional communications partnership The Government will provide $5 million to subsidise the transmission costs of community-based "self-help" broadcast groups in regional and remote Australia through a new Regional Communications Partnership, the Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, announced today.

The Government's contribution will be matched by ntl Australia Pty Ltd - the owner of the National Transmission Network

'Self-help groups provide and operate equipment to retransmit commercial and national television and radio services to smaller communities that would not otherwise have access to these services,' Senator Alston said.

'The Partnership will assist self-help groups by subsidising the commercial fees payable by the groups for access to ntl sites. It will be managed by ntl.

'The Government wants to make sure that communities throughout Australia have the best possible access to broadcasting services, and this partnership will further this commitment.'

The Government's contribution will be financed from the $120 million Television Fund, established to extend and improve television transmission in regional and rural areas.

Under the subsidy arrangements, self-help groups will pay ntl the following GST exclusive rates per service for a contract period of 10 years:

$250 per annum (fixed) for ABC and SBS services; ● $1598 per annum (indexed) for the first commercial service at the site; and ● $667 per annum (indexed) for additional commercial services. ●

Self-help groups providing new services, and groups providing existing services under existing agreements with ntl that are due to expire, will also be eligible for assistance from

the Partnership.

Media contact: Terry O'Connor 0419 636 879 or Sasha Grebe 0409 445 246 Website:

B2000/05 9 May 2000

Endnote: The way that the GST affects Budget estimates, accounting statements and appropriations is described in Budget Paper No. 4.

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