The Morrison-McCormack Government welcomes the passage of new legislation that will ease the regulatory burden on regional commercial radio and regional and remote commercial television broadcasters like those operating in the New England.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the legislation will provide greater sustainability of regional voices and help preserve greater choice for local communities.
“The legislation passed this week is the latest step in the Government’s work to help sustain Australia’s media sector and provides greater certainty for our regional broadcasters. It also strikes the right balance between supporting them through reduced regulatory burden, while making sure Australian stories continue to be told,” Minister Fletcher said.
The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020 allows greater flexibility and lowers the compliance burden for licensees in meeting their local content obligations, while maintaining local content requirements for regional Australians.
The legislation also helps assist regional and remote commercial television broadcasters to satisfy their Australian content multi-channel quota obligation when they have affiliation agreements with metropolitan broadcasters and limited or no control over the amount of Australian content they broadcast.
Mr Joyce said the Government has moved quickly to support regional journalism through tax relief for broadcast spectrum and funding from the $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) fund.
“I am pleased to see funding flow to news outlets in Manilla, Scone and Guyra which will help keep local jobs and make sure quality public interest news journalism continues to be available in our region,” Mr Joyce said.
The Government continues to look closely at the policy framework for our regional and metropolitan media to support them as they face unprecedented challenges and falling advertising revenue during COVID-19.