By Patrick Avenell

QUEENSLAND: The director of a rural Queensland Betta store, Balonne Electrical, has hit out today at the digital TV switchover process, calling it ‘disgusting’.

Brett Nosse runs the family-owned store, which has been open for over 40 years, and his patience with the Government and other vested interests has expired. He contacted to give his view.

“The lack of information in the bush is disgusting,” he said. “None of the television channels seem to have a plan for the bush, no timeframe, at least they are not letting us know.”

When asked what sort of information Nosse had received, both as a country resident and as a rural retailer, he said virtually nothing.

“We have received no official information, it’s disgusting.”

“If it was not for the ads on television telling people to look out for the digital TV tags, the bush wouldn’t even know that Digital TV existed.”

With the Government showing rural retailers like Nosse such scant regard, what did he expect the switchover to provide for country Australians? Not much, apparently.

“I hope that we actually do get HD, not just a crummy ‘she’ll be right, we’ll just give the country bumpkins an SD service, they won’t know any different!’.”

Nosse believes this is having an effect on a lot of country people, not just those in the industry. Television is a universally popular medium, and whereas the cities are hosting conferences and launch parties, Nosse says the country areas are being forgotten.

“The country people are feeling left out of the whole process, and the excitement of digital television.

“So once again the country area is left till last, probably end up with the dregs and cheapest option. I expect an SD service, due to the cost of HD, which is a shame.”

Nosse’s frustration at the Government is amplified by its decision to direct funds away from subsidising the digital switchover in the country to the recent stimulus packages.

“Has the Minister of Telecommunications put any thought into a subsidy program, or have they spent all their money on the stimulus package, helping the unemployed buy Playstations?” contacted Minister Stephen Conroy’s office for comment.

What’s your view on this? Are the country areas being neglected? Send me an email.