Minister Stephen Conroy has once again jumped to defend his controversial set top box plan.
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The assistance scheme announced in the budget last week to help elderly or disadvantaged switch over to digital TV to the tune of $350.
However, the scheme came under a barrage of criticism from leading retailers including Harvey Norman who claimed it could supply a box for far less money.
”If Gerry Harvey can meet the tender, the service standards, the occupational health and the safety standards, then we would welcome Harvey Norman putting in a tender,” Senator Conroy Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy responded.
And Conroy has now issued a statement (they must be ran off their feet in the Federal communications dept), claiming the scheme is legit as and has helped thousands so far switch over from analogue.
He also described feedback as “overwhelmingly positive” and said it is subject to rigorous rules and designed just for “those who really need it.”
“My Department has been actively monitoring the rollout of the program to make sure it is delivered in compliance with the rigorous contractual requirements we place on the appointed contractors and helps those who really need it.
“The Household Assistance Scheme has now helped around 40,000 households to successfully convert to digital television since its inception in January 2010 for the Mildura/Sunraysia switchover,” Senator Conroy said.
“Feedback on the scheme has been overwhelmingly positive from the individuals being assisted and also peak bodies representing these communities.”
“Just 149 complaints have been passed on to my Department. All complaints are investigated, and progress of the resolution is constantly monitored by my Department,” he added.
ORIMA research of households which were recipients of the scheme showed 96 per cent satisfaction rate, the minister added.
“The Government stands by the success of the Household Assistance Scheme over the last 18 months and is committed to seeing this important program, which provides an essential safety net to the most vulnerable people in our society, continue.” Senator Conroy said.
It also has the support of consumer and other advocacy groups.
“The Household Assistance Scheme means that people who need help making the transition to digital television will have that help,” Australian Communications Consumer Action Network said.