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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 769 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 November 2017 by Hon Tim Clifford

Minister responding: Hon A. MacTiernan
Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 2 November 2017

WESTLINK STATIONS — OPERATION
769. Hon TIM CLIFFORD to the Minister for Regional Development:
I refer to the minister's response to question on notice 655 regarding Westlink services, which states —
      Alternative means of communication, including online, will be utilised by state government agencies to communicate with regional Western Australia.
      (1) Has a feasibility study been undertaken on available bandwidth and internet reception, potential peak-loading issues and the cost of delivering the service via internet for all regions?
(2) If no to (1), why not?
(3) If yes to (1), will the minister provide a copy of the study?
(4) Who will pay internet service costs as a result of shifting to an internet-based broadcast service?
Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:
I think the member may have misunderstood the answer to the earlier question in that we were not proposing that identical television station–style services be offered over the internet. I make that as a preliminary comment. In response to the specifics of the member's question —
(1) No, although we are undertaking an audit of telecommunication infrastructure across the state.
      (2)–(4) Westlink was established in 1994 as a television station when the technology available to reach audiences who were geographically scattered across WA was limited. It has been capable of producing both live and prerecorded programs transmitted via satellite.
      Westlink was an effective initiative at that time, but in the last decade there has been a significant growth in free-to-air and pay TV services available to consumers. Consumers in regional WA can now access many of the TV services available in the metropolitan area.
      Furthermore, I am advised that the interest from government agencies and not-for-profit organisations in using Westlink as a communication tool has diminished.