House debates

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television Switch-over) Bill 2008

Consideration in Detail

10:37 pm

Photo of Sid SidebottomSid Sidebottom (Braddon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Common sense, Member for Hume—and you are out your seat. A staggered switch-over will also reduce the potential for significant strain on retailers, equipment suppliers and antenna technicians and technical and engineering resources of broadcasters across the country if analog switch-off were to be attempted at the one time. Digital television, colleagues, is a wonderful advance in technology and should be extended to every corner of the nation as soon as is technically and financially possible. Digital switch-over is important for all Australians as it not only provides access to such things as better picture and sound quality and additional channels but it will also free up spectrum which can be used for delivery of new and improved broadcasting and communications services.

Colleagues, I can imagine how my village at Forth will feel when it can finally convert to digital TV in the future. I am fortunate enough to receive pay TV at home and can vouch for the quality of the digital signal even on a four-year- old, 106-centimetre plasma TV. Colleagues, my fellow TV watchers on King Island—a beautiful part of my electorate and I hope you can visit it—will hopefully be viewing five-channel digital TV by April of next year thanks to this government’s $300,000 commitment made before the last election to convert the island’s signal from a relatively-okay-to-terrible analog signal to digital.

This process of licence gathering and technical planning has been long and thorough and I wish to thank the relevant communications authorities, particularly the ABC, SBS, the King Island Council and the technically brilliant project driver and adviser, Peter White. Without Peter’s contribution this funding and project may not have occurred. Well done to everyone involved and I know the long wait will be worth the effort—much better TV reception for more people spread over a much larger area. Merry Christmas to all you TV viewers. (Time expired)

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