Jun 19, 2012

APPROPRIATION BILL (NO. 1) 2012-2013: Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio – Consideration in Detail: Digital Television

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (17:02):  I wish to respond quickly on digital switchover so that it does get some recognition as part of this process. I can inform the member that more than 1.6 million households have made the switch to digital only TV. Over 550,000 households across southern New South Wales and the ACT and the MIA successfully switched to digital only free to air TV on 5 June 2012. Following the success of Mildura, regional South Australia, regional Victoria and regional Queensland, southern New South Wales and the ACT became the fifth and largest region to switch to digital only free to air TV on 5 June. I remember the member for Mallee raising issues in this chamber either last year or the year before about these very matters. This has been an extremely successful program which means that people who live in regional communities can have the same access as people who live in our cities.

I see the member for Corangamite here. I am very familiar with his electorate, which has urban communities around the Geelong area but also rural communities. It is a very large electorate compared with those of the member for Grayndler and the member for Wentworth, and it is great that whether you live in Colac or around the Great Ocean Road in those fantastic communities or in Geelong you will have access which is the same. That is part of this government’s legacy, the way we are delivering for people in regional Australia. I commend the work that the minister and the department have done and indeed the communities have done themselves in ensuring that this has been such a success.