Press release from ACTA
 
The Australian Community Television Alliance supports the Federal Government’s decision to provide licence fee rebates to the commercial television networks as a means of encouraging their continued investment in Australian program content.
 
ACTA believes that the transition to digital is vital to the development of Community Television and is keen to see digital take-up increase now that its members have been given approval to go digital themselves.  ACTA members also believe that it is essential that the networks are encouraged to maintain high local content levels during the switchover.
 
"Community Television stands to be a big winner from the move to digital,"  said ACTA Secretary and TVS Chief Executive, Laurie Patton, who is also a member of the Digital Switchover Taskforce Industry Advisory Group (IAG).  The IAG is advising the Government on the implementation of its switchover strategy.
 
ACTA notes that Free TV has said that the rebates "will allow Free TV broadcasters to continue their level of commitment to Australian content as we make a successful transition to digital only services" and looks forward to seeing this promise fulfilled.
 
"As the  biggest single local content producers ourselves, ACTA members applaud any moves that can result in future investment in Australian programming," Mr Patton said.
 
In November last year the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, allocated vacant spectrum previously known as Channel A to enable Community TV stations to simulcast until the switch to digital-only television in the capital cities in 2013.  The Government also allocated funding, totalling $2.6 million, to assist stations to meet the costs of commencing digital simulcasts.  Community stations in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney are scheduled to commence digital broadcasts over the coming months.

"Now that we have been given the means to go digital ACTA looks forward to continuing its discussions with the Federal Government in the pursuit of production funding for its program makers so that we, too, can increase the level of local content on Australian television," Mr Patton concluded.

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