Broadcasting and Digital TV - services in language on indigenous communities

Environment and Communications Committee Tuesday 18 October 2011

CHAIR: Order! Senator Ludlam, you have the call. We will probably run 10 minutes over in this session. We will just take it off 1.1.

Senator LUDLAM: I will be brief. I am actually following up some of the issues that Senator Macdonald and Senator Birmingham have raised already. I would like to thank the minister and the department for the answers to some of the detailed questions that I put on broadcasting and the Satellite Subsidy Scheme. My questions relate to the issue of Aboriginal language programming in remote communities and the interesting fact that some of these small terrestrial self-help transmitters have actually been narrowcasting to small audiences Aboriginal language content to relatively small footprints and small audiences. Those services, not by any intention I understand, are actually, to a degree, under threat by what is occurring at the moment where people are being offered 16 channels of digital TV broadcasting from the capitals, which will effectively wipe out some of that niche language programming. Can you tell us what you have in mind to ensure that does not happen in the short term. And what potential solutions do you have for the longer term?