TRANSCRIPT - Crookwell Television Tower > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield

TRANSCRIPT - Crookwell Television Tower

Doorstop Interview

with the Hon. Angus Taylor MP
Crookwell Television Tower

26 February 2016

12pm

 

E & OE

JOURNALIST:

A win today for Crookwell residents, tells us what’s happening?

TAYLOR:

It sure is. So after about four years of work, it’s great to be here with my good friend Mitch Fifield the Minister for Communications and John Shaw, the Mayor of Upper Lachlan Council, to officially turn on the TV transmission of the new tower here. After four years of work, we’ve had to change the licencing regime, we’ve had to invest about just under $300,000 into putting the new tower up. It’s up, it’s running. TV’s are working and the people of Crookwell can finally switch on to Free-to-Air commercial TV, as well as SBS without having to have a satellite dish or a box on their TV. So this is a fantastic day and one that I know has taken a lot of work from a lot of people, so really exciting to be here. 


JOURNALIST:

As you mentioned, it’s been a four year campaign from residents, so they have waited a while for this.  

 

TAYLOR:

They have. I mean, in fact, the residents have been pushing for this even longer than that. But certainly John and I have been working together on this throughout that time, as well as the now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who was the Minister for Telecommunications when I first approached him about this problem and he knows this area well. So, it’s been a lot of work from a lot of people including RBAH who’s played a very important role.

JOURNALIST:

So, obviously it is a big day for Crookwell residents a significant day for them. They will get to see everything and won’t be interrupted with anything like that. Minister, great to be here to launch this as well?

FIFIELD:

Today is an important day for the Crookwell community. They got together, they spoke with one voice, and they had an absolute champion in Angus Taylor who would not rest until he was able to deliver for the community.

It really has been a terrific partnership between the Government, the Council and the regional broadcasters to ensure that the local population could enjoy the TV services that they wanted.


JOURNALIST:

 

As Angus mentioned, it’s been a four year campaign by residents, why did it take so long?

 

FIFIELD:

 

Well, the world of bureaucracy is something that is sometimes difficult to navigate. And when you have a local member who is tenacious, who’s not prepared to take no for an answer, you can get really good outcomes. So I think full credit to Angus Taylor and also to Malcolm Turnbull the former Communications Minister, who recognised that there was a need and worked to find a way through it with the local community.    

 

JOURNALIST:


There was also some funding the Federal Government put forward to make this happen?

 

FIFIELD:

Yes, close to three hundred thousand dollars was identified to make sure that regional TV services could be received by the local community.

JOURNALIST:

I’ll ask about reach rules if you don’t mind, obviously the laws have passed Cabinet and are now off to the Senate. Where do we go from here? A lot of people are still a bit unsure about what the next step is. Can you tell our viewers what it is?

 

FIFIELD:

We’re still going through the internal processes of government, but I’ve made very clear that I think the 75% reach rule and the ‘2 out of 3’ rule are redundant. Technology and the choices that offers consumers mean that bit by bit, day-by-day, the media rules no longer reflect the world that we live in.

Regional TV operators should be given the opportunity to configure themselves in a way that best supports their viability. It’s also really important that with any changes to media law, we make sure that there are protections for local content. It’s something that is highly valued in regional communities. That’s a message I’ve been hearing loud and clear from Angus Taylor as well. So that will be an important part of the package that we put forward into the Parliament.

JOURNALIST:

Are you hoping it gets given the green light and the next step? I know you’ve been campaigning a lot with local members including Angus Taylor?

FIFIELD:

I’m keen to introduce legislation in the very near future. We need to conclude the internal processes of government and once that has occurred I’ll be in a position to make an announcement about the detail.

JOURNALIST:

I understand there is a parliamentary committee as well that has been set up so locals can put submissions in to say why it is important to have regional media. The ACT Government has been one of those people that have put a submission saying it’s very important. Is that great to hear that the ACT is coming on board with this?

FIFIELD:

Look I think it’s really important that we have the broadest possible support for the changes to media law. We no longer live in the analogue era. We live in a digital world and it’s important that our media law reflects that.

JOURNALIST:

Alrighty John, very exciting day especially you’ve been campaigning a lot for this with Angus. How exciting is it for you to see?

MAYOR SHAW:

Look it’s a great day. It’s been a long time coming. Four years we’ve been on the trail for this, over four years. The thing with it, the residents of Crookwell have only ever had fortuitous television for 70 years. So this is the first time that they’ve actually been able to get a television reception that’s not fortuitous reception. Look, can I just thank Angus today. Also thank Minister Fifield for coming, the current Communications Minister but also the previous Communications Minister, for giving us the funding to do the upgrades or the retransmission tower. And we will now take over the running of it and fund the ongoing maintenance and everything that it takes now to keep it running. And the people of Crookwell are very appreciative of what they’ve received. So yeah it’s been a great day.

JOURNALIST:

Have you spoken to residents in the lead up to today?

MAYOR SHAW:

I’ve spoken to a couple who have converted over and of course we’ve taken a while to get it here. And some of them have got the VAST system and they’re wondering if they should convert back to the old system with what we’ve got here. So look it will take time for everyone to get onto it, but those that are on there, are very appreciative. Thanks again to the local member Angus and Minister Fifield for coming today and officially launching the site, it’s fantastic. 

[ends]

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.Sywak@communications.gov.au