Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Remote central and eastern Australia — final countdown to digital-only television has begun!

21 November 2013

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP
Minister for Communications

Parts of remote central and eastern Australia will switch to digital-only television on 10 December 2013. Along with Melbourne, these will be the final areas of Australia to complete the digital switchover.

To continue to watch free-to-air television after this date, you need to be digital ready.

The remote central and eastern Australia switchover area includes 87,900 households in remote Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Already, 87 per cent of households in this region have converted to digital TV. For the remaining 13 per cent of households that haven't switched, there is still time but don't put it off any longer.

Converting to digital television involves adding a digital set-top box or digital recorder to each analog television or replacing your analog television with a new television that has a built-in digital tuner.

Viewers receiving the Aurora satellite service or living in areas where the terrestrial digital TV signal is no longer available can opt to receive the Viewer Access Satellite Television service, known as VAST. A new decoder will be needed when moving from Aurora to VAST services but most households will be able to use their existing satellite dish.

Many households across remote central and eastern Australia have already converted to VAST which provides the full suite of 17 digital television services that are available in metropolitan areas. VAST also provides regional news services and the Rural Health Channel.

Assistance is still available to help make the switch. You may be eligible for the Household Assistance Scheme if you have not yet converted your working television to digital, and receive the full rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans' Affairs Service Pension or DVA Income Support Supplement. To check eligibility, contact the Department of Human Services on 1800 556 443.

Households that currently receive analog television from a transmitter that is not being upgraded to digital may be eligible for the Satellite Subsidy Scheme Information about the digital switchover and assistance schemes is available on the website at or by calling the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13.

Note to media: The map below shows main population centres in the Remote Central and Eastern Australia switchover region.

Residents can visit and enter their full address to see their digital TV coverage and check eligibility for satellite access.

*Switchover time will be 9am Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST). Viewers in other time zones will lose the analog signal as follows:

  • NT 8.30am ACST;
  • SA 9.30am ACDT; and
  • NSW, Vic and Tas 10am (AEDT)

Digital Switchover media contact: 02 6271 1777

RCEA map showing switchover regions

Remote Central and Eastern Australia switchover region

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