Pensioners will start to get their free set-top box over the next few months to ensure they won’t be left in the dark when the analogue signal switches off this year.
Pensioners will start to get their free set-top box over the next few months to ensure they won’t be left in the dark when the analogue signal switches off this year.

Local installer supports budget

SUGGESTIONS the Government’s allocation of $400 per pensioner for a free, fully-installed digital set-top box is exorbitant have been dismissed, with a local technician saying the job was not always straight-forward.

Michael Hastie of Stanthorpe’s Edekit Industries has undertaken a two-year contract to install devices across the region as part of the government-funded scheme.

>> What does the budget mean for you?

Work is set to commence in one or two months and Mr Hastie said once he has completed the required work in any particular area the analogue system could be switched off.

“Once it is all done it could be switched off at anytime and it has to be done by the new year,” he said.

Mr Hastie rejected suggestions $400 a pop was an exorbitant amount, saying installation was not always a straight-forward procedure.

He said each installation was different and problems were often encountered.

“$40 may cover a box but those ones usually break so you probably have to spend around $100-110 for a good one.

"Then on top of that you have to buy the cable and you could have trouble getting a signal,” he said.

“If the Government isn’t there initialising it, as soon as they turn the signal off a lot of people will be without TV.”

Warwick pensioner Kim Manthey contacted the Daily News yesterday and said she believed other areas could have been made a priority in the budget, including topping up the pension rate.

Mrs Manthey said she struggles to survive on the current pension amount and said winter is a dreaded time for her in her “freezing” little flat.

“I have bar heaters but I spend most of winter in bed because I know I can’t afford the heating,” she said.

“Pensioners are doing it tough.”



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