22 January 2015
FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce has expressed his disappointment on behalf of the New England community regarding the announcement by the Prime Media Group that it intends discontinuing the production and presentation of its local news service in Tamworth.
Mr Joyce has written to Prime Media Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Audsley, strongly urging the company to review the decision.
Mr Joyce said Prime7 has a long and proud history as an integral part of the fabric of the New England community through its news production and presentation in Tamworth spanning a period of some 50 years since NEN9 was first established and from which Prime7 has grown and prospered.
“Whilst I note the Prime Media Group’s reassurances in relation to local staff and the production of week-night half-hour bulletins, the proposed closure of the Tamworth studios on Goonoo Goonoo Road and the discontinuation of the local production and presentation of the news will inevitably see a loss of local skills and infrastructure and the ability to report local breaking news at short notice,” Mr Joyce said.
Mr Joyce said a key point put forward by the community has been that cross media ownership would diminish regional representation.
“This proposal accentuates the problem and highlights the need for legislation to ensure there is proper representation in our regional communities,” he said.
“I appreciate that companies have the right to make business decisions, however I would strongly encourage the Prime Media Group to consider the broader picture of the importance of Prime7’s Tamworth studios and the local news production and presentation team in the New England community.
“There are many exciting opportunities in regional centres and a decision to retain the existing studios and news service in Tamworth would send an important signal to other companies in relation to the importance of retaining and expanding operations in country communities.
“A great deal of mutual support has existed for many years between the New England community and Prime7 of which everyone can be very proud and it is my sincere hope that this wonderful tradition and support can continue into the future.”