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Digital-only TV switch in Sydney

Emerton Mens Shed2Analog free-to-air TV signals are switching off in Sydney and surrounding areas on 3 December 2013 and, this means there is less than three months for everyone to get ready for digital-only TV.

Emerton Men’s Shed Coordinator Rick Welsh is playing an important role in spreading the word about the digital TV switchover. The Men’s Shed provides a social hub for Australia’s biggest Aboriginal population, in the local government area of Blacktown in Sydney’s west.

The Shed has links with 28 local and regional service providers, and every Wednesday it puts on a free lunch which is a drawcard for members of the local Aboriginal community, as well as the service providers.

“We put on a healthy free lunch of steak, chicken and stir fry, and everyone who walks through our door is welcome,” Rick said.

“A lot of the elderly men in particular enjoy coming to the lunch, which gives service providers a chance to meet them in a relaxed environment.

“Many elders have recently received a letter from the Department of Human Services about some assistance that is available to eligible people, and some were not sure what it meant or where to go to find more information. A few don’t even have a phone.

“So they’ve been asking us about the switchover. I was able to access material which was specifically targeted for Aboriginal people, and that’s made it a lot easier for them to be engaged and understand the process.

“Some of the elders around here are quite isolated, so when they come to the Shed they like to have a yarn. Yarning with one client about the switchover is like having a conversation with 15, because they all sit outside and chat about it and share the information.”

There is practical assistance to switch to digital TV. The Household Assistance Scheme has been established to help eligible people on certain full rate pensions have equipment installed in their homes free-of-charge. The Scheme also provides in-home aftercare support for 12 months.

To check if you’re eligible for the Scheme and to apply, call the Department of Human Services on 1800 556 443.

To find out more about the switch to digital TV in your area visit the Digital Ready website or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13 (available 7 days a week, 8am to midnight AEST).

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