13 November 2015

New TV microwave link to be implemented in Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek in early 2016

It is pleasure to rise on behalf of the residents of Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek to celebrate the wonderful news announced by the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects yesterday that there will be a new microwave link installed, as well as a frequency change initiated by the broadcasters broadcasting into Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek.  Frankly, the issues with free-to-air television reception have been terrible and this community has been putting up with all sorts of issues for far too long.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority earlier this year held a community meeting, which I attended, and they discussed a range of possible solutions. They have conducted a range of tests in relation to the TV reception. The solution has been a bit slow, but I am very pleased that, through the assistance of the territories minister and also the Minister for Communications, ACMA have now come up with a solution.

It is great news. During the summer months, with the issues with inversion, it is particularly challenging, but these changes will be able to be implemented by early next year.

So I hope that for people living along the Great Ocean Road this will demonstrate that we as a government are listening. I do acknowledge that there are other issues. There are residents who have contacted me from places like Lorne, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove and even some parts of Geelong, where they are really struggling with TV reception. We will take each and every problem on, because free-to-air television reception is a right of every single Australian.

I am also very pleased that, as part of the comprehensive communications infrastructure that we are investing in for these communities, in the second quarter of 2016 the NBN—at last!—will be rolled out: fixed-line NBN in Apollo Bay and Marengo. And, in the first quarter of 2017, NBN fixed wireless will be rolled out in Apollo Bay and also, principally, in Skenes Creek. We acknowledge that, after so many years of failure by the previous government to get the NBN out, we are rolling it out, and we are very proud of that.

In addition, we are also providing a mobile base station in Apollo Bay through our Mobile Black Spots Program, which has now been increased to $160 million in total. Again, this is in contrast to the previous government, under which not one cent was spent in fixing mobile phone black spots. We are very proud of what we are doing to invest in communications infrastructure and to stand up for the people of Apollo Bay and Skenes Creek.