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Forrest more confident after digital TV talks today.

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Thursday, 29 January 2009


Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest has welcomed Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s assurance obout getting good digital television reception across the whole Mildura broadcasting region.

The Minister told a meeting of community leaders in Mr Forrest’s Mildura office today that a mix of digital and satellite would be used to ensure the region was the first in Australia successfully switched to full digital transmission, and no analogue signal.

“This is welcome news, although I’m cautious but at the same time, positive. We’ve been looking for an opportunity to solve television access in remote areas across the whole of north western Victoria for many years, and this looks extremely promising,” Mr Forrest said.

“The Minister and his departments are keen to sort the problems out before going to full digital and switching off analogue around the rest of Australia. If the announcements today deliver us a benefit in being the first in Australia, being the guinea pig will be worth it. We might be the first in the nation and endure some uncertainty, but we must convert and maximise this opportunity. As a result, we’ll be the first to arrive in the 21st century of television broadcasting.

“The Minister is encouraging satellite access for the more remote homes and in Underbool, where there has been a repeater, those residents will get a satellite dish subsidy of $300.

“Pinnaroo and Murrayville may have to wait a while because they are not, for particular historic reasons, in the Mildura licence area. However, Underbool will get the special packages spoken of by Mr Conroy.

“Now the work begins. We need to hear positive suggestions on how to maximise this opportunity for Wentworth, Robinvale, Pooncarie, Cullulleraine, the Calder and Mallee Highways, Wemen, Ouyen. Walpeup, Underbool, Tutye, Cowangie, Murrayville and Patchewollock. Murrayville and Patchewollock will be better off with a satellite dish but may have to wait a bit longer in the digital rollout as other licensed areas are brought on board.”

Mr Forrest said he wanted the information about the digital conversion freely available to residents in the Mildura viewing area, a regular presence of Australian

John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5021 5987 Fax (03) 5023 3274

Communications and Media Authority, and retailers and installers to be fully briefed so there were no surprises, and no below standard equipment.

“I am encouraged these things already seem to be happening and the Minister is implementing them.”

Mr Forrest said he “feels a little bit better” after today’s meeting with Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

“Minister Conroy has issued instructions to get it right,” Mr Forrest said.

“Television in western Victoria has been a constant challenge since I was elected in 1993.

“We finally got equivalent to full aggregation, and if we get a successful digital signal and satellite, most of our problems should be solved.

“People in the Mildura Rural City Council municipality want to listen to the local news broadcast from Mildura.

“I believe we have a Minister who is going to work with me, and I’m confident of a good outcome in the end,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.