Australian Government, 2008‑09 Budget
Budget

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Election Commitments

ABC NewsRadio Rollout

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp

The Government will continue the extension of ABC NewsRadio services to the remaining towns with a population over 10,000. These extensions may take longer than originally anticipated while the Australian Communications and Media Authority undertakes further testing of available spectrum and investigates possible spectrum solutions. The remaining towns have spectrum limitations that require this further investigation to ensure there is no interference caused to existing radio and television services by an extension of NewsRadio services.

A provision for the funding of those transmission services will remain in the Contingency Reserve to protect the ABC's commercial position in any future tender processes.

Australian Broadband Guarantee — extension

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 89.7 76.0 59.9 44.9
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 0.3 - - -

The Government will provide up to $270.7 million over four years (including $0.3 million in capital funding in 2008‑09) to provide equitable access to broadband services in regional and remote communities and blackspot areas. Annual funding to be provided through the Australian Broadband Guarantee will be capped.

The Government has committed to establish a National Broadband Network to provide high speed broadband services to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses. The Australian Broadband Guarantee will provide access to 'metro‑comparable' broadband services to underserved areas while the Network is being rolled‑out and for the remaining 2 per cent of Australians in regional and rural Australia not covered by the Network.

See also the related expense measure titled National Broadband Network — roll‑out in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Australian Music Radio Airplay Project

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.6

The Government will provide $2.4 million over four years to support the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project to help promote contemporary Australian bands and musicians. The project produces and distributes radio content and promotes Australian music as well as developing an online resource for community broadcasters, musicians, industry bodies and audiences to learn about emerging artists.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Cyber‑safety Plan

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Australian Federal Police - 8.7 12.7 13.2 13.0
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 7.3 32.5 6.6 4.9
Australian Communications and Media Authority - 5.5 3.0 2.8 2.8
Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions - 2.8 2.8 2.8 2.9
Total - 24.3 51.1 25.4 23.6
Australian Federal Police - 0.7 0.6 0.1 -

The Government will provide $125.8 million over four years to establish the Cyber‑safety Plan.

The Cyber‑safety Plan will provide a range of initiatives to combat online threats and protect children from inappropriate material on the internet, through activities such as an education program for teachers and the community, Internet Service Provider level filtering of an expanded Australian Communications and Media Authority blacklist, examination of options to allow families to exclude other unwanted content, a Youth Advisory Group to assist the Government to formulate age‑appropriate measures to protect children, an expanded Consultative Working Group focussed on cyber‑safety issues, a dedicated website for children and research projects on cyber‑safety issues.

From 2009‑10, Internet Service Providers will receive a one‑off subsidy towards the costs of installing Internet Service Providers filters. This funding will largely occur in 2009‑10 with funding in following years only for new providers.

This measure will continue funding for the Australian Federal Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for the investigation and prosecution relating to incidents of child sexual exploitation.

See also the related savings measure titled Protecting Australian Families Online in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Broadband Network — establishment and implementation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 2.1 5.2 0.4 0.5 0.5

The Government will provide $8.6 million over five years to the National Broadband Network policy. This is in addition to the reallocation of $1.8 million from the Australia Connected Expert Taskforce.

The funding will be used to develop and manage the competitive assessment process and to monitor the roll‑out of the National Broadband Network, including costs associated with the establishment of a panel of experts and specialist advisers for the conduct and assessment of the recently commenced Request for Proposals process.

See also the related expense measures titled National Broadband Network — roll‑out in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

National Broadband Network — roll‑out

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - nfp nfp nfp nfp

The Government will provide up to $4.7 billion to build a high‑speed, open‑access, fibre‑based National Broadband Network. The new network will deliver minimum speeds of 12 megabits per second to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses.

The budget impact will be dependant on the outcome of the recently‑commenced Request for Proposals process. A provision for the National Broadband Network has therefore been included in the Contingency Reserve pending the determination of the successful proponent.

See also the related expense measure titled National Broadband Network — establishment and implementation in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Television Blackspots

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 0.9 - - -

The Government will provide $850,000 in 2008‑09 as a contribution towards improving television reception in the following locations:

  • Broadford (Victoria)
  • King Island (Tasmania)
  • Elizabeth/Salisbury and surrounds (South Australia)

This measure delivers on the Government's election commitment.

Other measures

Clever Networks — additional funding for connecting rural independent Victorian schools

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy 1.7 3.5 - - -

The Government will provide $5.2 million over two years for a new aspect of the Clever Networks program, which will assist with the provision of a managed virtual private network for independent schools across rural and regional Victoria. This will help improve learning opportunities and outcomes for students and support the professional development of their teachers.

Community Broadcasting National Training Program — continuation

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - - - - -

The Government will provide $0.6 million in 2008‑09 to continue the community broadcasting National Training Program, which enables the community radio sector to plan and deliver accredited management and broadcasting skills training, particularly in regional, rural and remote Australia. The program also addresses the special training needs of radio for the print handicapped, Indigenous and ethnic community broadcasting. This maintains the level of funding provided in 2007‑08.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Digital radio — introduction extended

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - -5.8 4.8 - -
Total - -5.8 4.8 - -
Australian Broadcasting Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Special Broadcasting Service Corporation - nfp nfp nfp nfp
Total - - - - -

The Government will seek to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to extend the legislated timetable for the commercial broadcasters to commence digital radio broadcasting from 1 January 2009 to 1 July 2009. The proposed extension will provide the commercial broadcasters with additional time needed to prepare for the introduction of digital radio.

This amendment will not prevent the commercial, community or national broadcasters from commencing digital radio earlier, subject to the necessary regulatory approvals being in place. The national broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service, are still expected to commence limited digital radio transmissions in early 2009.

The delay will save the Government a net $1.0 million over four years from 2008‑09. Further savings will also be achieved by the national broadcasters in relation to capital and transmission costs. Due to the commercial nature of the associated tender arrangements, these savings cannot be disclosed. Provision for a capital injection for equipment for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Special Broadcasting Service digital radio systems, and for funding for transmission services, will be made in the Contingency Reserve.

Digital Television Switchover — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2007‑08 2008‑09 2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy - 11.5 6.2 5.8 5.9
Australian Communications and Media Authority - 2.2 1.9 1.9 1.5
Total - 13.6 8.1 7.7 7.4
Australian Communications and Media Authority - 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.2

The Government will provide $37.9 million over four years to assist the switchover of analogue to digital television broadcasting.

The Government will establish a Digital Television Switchover Taskforce which is responsible for coordinating and overseeing Australia's transition from analogue to digital television.

This measure will provide funding for:

  • implementing a Digital Tracker to measure household readiness to convert to digital television, intention to convert and the availability of digital equipment in the supply chain;
  • research evaluating reception difficulties in multi‑unit dwellings such as blocks of apartments, hospitals and schools that rely on communal reception systems; and
  • development of a labelling scheme for television equipment to provide information to Australian consumers on what products are or are not 'digital ready'.

This measure includes funding of $7.5 million over four years to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to conduct a technical program to support an evaluation of digital television signal deficiency. In addition, the Government will provide $1.1 million over four years as capital funding to areas of ACMA to monitor and report on digital terrestrial television broadcast reception with a focus on problem areas.

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