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Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household ...

1.9 The Scheme is being

1.9 The Scheme is being delivered on a region‐by‐region basis with assistance commencing approximately six to nine months prior to the date for the region to begin digital switchover and concluding approximately one month after the switchover. Eligibility under HAS 1.10 An individual may be eligible to access government assistance under HAS where they own a functioning television, have not already converted to digital broadcasts and where they are in receipt of the maximum rate of the: age pension; disability support pension; carer payment; Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) service pension; or DVA income support supplement. Provision of services under HAS 1.11 HAS provides, at no cost to eligible customers, the supply, installation and demonstration of a high definition (HD) STB, with features to meet the needs of the elderly or those with a disability. Depending on individual circumstances, customers may be entitled to receive: � a HD STB; � installation of the STB; � instructions/demonstration on how to use the STB and remote; and � any necessary upgrades, including cabling, internal/external antenna and satellite systems. 1.12 HAS assistance is available to individual customers, with a maximum of one assistance package per couple, and is provided by government contracted installers. 24 HAS provides customers with 12‐month after‐care assistance, 12‐month in‐home warranty for faulty workmanship and 12‐month product warranty for equipment provided as part of the service. This arrangement allows customers to continue to receive assistance once the installation of equipment has been completed. 24 Under HAS, where there are two customers on the maximum rate of an eligible payment who are in a couple or couple-like relationship, as defined by Department of Human Services (DHS), only one assistance package is provided to the couple. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 36

HAS budget Background and Context 1.13 In January 2009, the Government announced a suite of measures to improve the availability of enhanced television services as Australia transitions to digital‐only broadcasting. The pilot package included approximately $3 million (DBCDE received $2.49 million and DHS received $0.543 million) for the Household Assistance Program (now HAS) to complete the digital switchover in the Mildura/Sunraysia pilot region. As part of the 2009–10 Budget, the Government approved a further $69.52 million to rollout HAS to approximately 250 000 households in the Regional South Australia, Regional Victoria and Regional Queensland television licence areas to help households convert to digital television. DBCDE received additional funding of $308.8 million in the 2011–12 Budget to complete the switchover across Australia. 25 As at 1 March 2012, actual DBCDE expenditure under HAS was $37 million. Number of eligible households 1.14 The estimated number of households eligible to access government assistance under HAS is more than 1.9 million. Table 1.1 provides an overview of the number of potentially eligible households, the number who opt‐in for assistance, installations completed and the installation rate per region to 1 March 2012. 26 25 Australian Government, Portfolio Budget Statements 2011–12, Budget Related Paper No. 3, Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Portfolio, p. 14. The total HAS budget is currently being reviewed. 26 Opt-in refers to the number of potentially eligible customers that have tested their eligibility with DHS, and DHS has confirmed eligibility to receive services under HAS, subject to the customer having a working television and not already being converted to digital. ANAO Audit Report No.55 2011–12 Administration of the Digital Television Switchover Household Assistance Scheme 37

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