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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 417..


MR MULCAHY (continuing):

children involved in that area would know of Mon Bourke. She is a formidable individual.

In this era, when people seem to retreat more into their own worlds and think more about themselves than sometimes the rest of their community, to come across somebody whom I have come to know lately who has given 35 years of her life is an enormous reflection on her positive contributions to sport and young people in this territory. So often these people who work away not seeking recognition or praise are doing wonderful things behind the scenes in Canberra and it certainly gives me pleasure today to ensure that the records of the Assembly reflect the wonderful work that she has undertaken and continues to undertake.

The ACT Softball Association said to me today they had marvellous feedback from the weekend. It was the Woden Valley group's turn to host this tournament, which meant they had to organise the various facilities and canteens and the like. They did that with exceptional skill, and great credit goes to those involved in putting all those events together this past weekend. I would like that to be recognised and I commend all of those involved with that competition.

I want to mention just one other minor matter unrelated to that, Mr Speaker. This is a consumer affairs issue, and I do not have responsibility for that policy area in the Assembly. It is Mr Stefaniak's area and I did mention this to him. I would like to see possibly a bit more vigilance on consumer affairs issues from the Chief Minister. I know he has a lot of things on his plate, but this particular experience reflects quite poorly on the Foxtel organisation.

I learnt through experience a couple of weeks ago that people who have not yet subscribed to digital television who experience any equipment failures with either remotes or set top boxes are advised that the practice of Foxtel is to refuse to repair that equipment and to tell people they have to pay to go on to the digital system as a condition of getting any service.

I think that level of arrogance and disregard for loyal customers in this territory should be condemned. I would hope that the consumer affairs officials in the territory, if they monitor these discussions, will take action to ensure that Foxtel respect their obligations to consumers, who are paying fees in good faith and who are clearly basically under the assumption that their equipment will be maintained if it breaks down and not simply told that they will be leveraged into a digital service that has been struggling to get rapid uptake.

I think the whole digital saga in Australia is a reflection of how rather badly the federal government has handled it. But I think a private operator has a duty to consumers to operate with integrity and decency. I certainly do not think that stunts like this will endear them to their Canberra customers. I have been a loyal subscriber to this service since the early days of Galaxy, and there are thousands of others in the territory who have subscribed to pay TV services. If they are going to do business in Canberra and have such a privileged position, they do have a duty to ensure that they observe normal good consumer practice and honour the service and maintenance of equipment.


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