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Friday 2 June 2000

Radio Australia and Cox Peninsula

ABC Chairman, Donald McDonald, today noted that the Cox Peninsula transmission site had been leased by the Federal Government to an organisation known as Christian Voice.

"The ABC would welcome the opportunity to discuss with Christian Voice the possibility of Radio Australia accessing the facility. This would enable Radio Australia to broadcast to those parts of Asia that have been denied programming since Cox Peninsula was closed in July 1997," Mr McDonald said.

"In addition, I would welcome an expression of support from the Minister for Foreign Affairs on the unique role of Radio Australia in the region.

"The crisis in Fiji has once again demonstrated the importance of the ABC's international service.

"Radio Australia is a key media player in the South Pacific, with most national broadcasters in the region, including Radio Fiji, making use of its news and current affairs content.

"Throughout the crisis Radio Australia has kept the region informed through its short wave broadcasts from Shepparton in Victoria and its live satellite relays on local stations.

"Radio Australia is playing a vital role by broadcasting accurate news and information to the Pacific and reporting Australian perspectives on the situation".

"By contrast, Radio Australia's impact in Asia, particularly in Indonesia, will remain limited until it can regain access to the Cox Peninsula transmission site near Darwin.

"During the Timor crisis Radio Australia was only able to boost its service to Indonesia by acquiring access to a commercial transmission facility in Taiwan. This constituted a budgetary drain that the ABC could not sustain indefinitely", Mr McDonald said.

For further information:

Tony Hastings, A/Network Manager - Radio Australia

(03) 9626 1911

Shane Wells, Corporate Media Adviser
(02) 9333 5306 or 0408 445 098

Friday 2 June 2000

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