By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: As regional Victoria and New South Wales begin the switch to digital television, the Victorian and New South Wales state governments, along with the federal government, have announced a new television recycling initiative for residents in these areas.

According to a joint release from the office of Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and other state and federal departments, residents in “regional Victoria and New South Wales border areas will be able to drop off their old televisions for recycling…under a month-long, free initiative jointly funded by the Australian, Victorian and New South Wales governments.”

The initiative, which will allow for the recycling of broken and unwanted televisions, will run from 30 June to 31 July, with collection points in Sale, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Bendigo, Ballarat, Hamilton, Horsham, Nhill, Mildura, Colac, Wodonga, Culcairn and Deniliquin, the release reported.

According to Senator Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability, the arrangements will reduce the impact of e-waste on the environment whilst also reclaiming “valuable, re-usable materials in televisions such as tin, nickel, zinc aluminium and copper”.

“This important take-back initiative follows the successful scheme rolled out in regional South Australia and Broken Hill after the December 2010 digital switchover in those areas, which saw nearly 20,000 old TVs diverted from landfill,” he said.

Commenting on the scheme, Senator Conroy conceded that many Australians would be able to update their analogue television with the addition of a set-top box. However, he also noted that many residents would appreciate the opportunity to upgrade technology.

“We are pleased, therefore, to be able to provide this practical help to householders, as one of many initiatives in place to help communities prepare for the switchover,” said Conroy.

Click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter

In other digital TV news, Conroy yesterday announced a radio and television advertising campaign to generate awareness of the upcoming switch to digital in regional Queensland. The switch to digital-only free-to-air television will occur on 6 December 2011.

“It is now less than six months until these households will be digital-only,” said Senator Conroy. “I want to ensure all people, and in particular the most vulnerable in our community, not only have access to digital television but also the information they require to make the switchover as simple as possible.

“The Household Assistance Scheme is being made available now across regional Queensland to provide practical help to the most vulnerable in the community to make the switch to digital TV through the supply and installation of a high definition set top box at no cost to eligible recipients.

“A Satellite Subsidy Scheme is also available to assist households in communities where a local self-help facility is not being upgraded to digital to convert to VAST service. VAST provides all 16 free-to-air digital channels as well as a local news channel.”