Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (5 March) . . Page.. 566 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
The move to digital television will be costly, but it will open up a whole new range of opportunities for the public broadcaster, not least of which is the prospect of multichannelling, whereby extra channels are broadcast on the existing TV spectrum using digital technology.
For example, the ABC are proposing the introduction of a new information channel, ABC Daily, with hourly news updates, documentaries, sport, weather updates, regional coverage and parliamentary debates. ABC Daily will give the Democrats an unparalleled access to the minds and hearts of Canberrans. I know that I can look forward to the support of Ms Dundas and of the very cheerful Mrs Burke, who is sitting across the chamber. I thank her for being the sole Liberal-
Mrs Cross: Excuse me, what am I, chopped liver?
MR HARGREAVES: I shouldn't address interjections, Mr Deputy Speaker, but I was about to acknowledge Mrs Cross. However, I am always wary of Greeks bearing gifts.
SBS is hoping to keep the existing World News Channel and SBS Essential on air and establish a world arts and entertainment channel. The managing director of SBS, Nigel Milan, has put forward a request for an extra $112 million over the next three years. SBS currently receives $78 million per annum in government funding and generates around $20 million per annum in advertising.
At 5.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Deputy Speaker, I am heartened that people are so riveted to this speech that they do not want to go anywhere. I appreciate that so very much on behalf of multicultural activities.
SBS is highly respected for the quality of its creative output, the integrity of its approach and its contribution to Australia's multicultural society. When it commenced broadcasting in the early 1980s, SBS brought multiculturalism into the lounge rooms of ordinary Australians. Its charter calls for the delivery of multicultural and multilingual services that provide a credible source of international analysis for all Australians and the encouragement of a shared sense of belonging and harmony.
The SBS funding submission states that there has never been a time when SBS has been such a critical service for the benefit of all Australians. In light of current world events, who would disagree with this statement? SBS needs to maintain and consolidate its current funding base to enable it to continue to provide the level of services expected and demanded by its audiences. It is estimated that SBS television reaches 58 per cent of all Australian homes in an average week-that is, nearly 8 million viewers.
Mr Wood: Oh, get out!
MR HARGREAVES: It is true, and most of them are from a very diverse cultural background.