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17 February, 2022

Media reform

The extension of transitional support for local broadcasters, and the introduction of a fund to support the recruitment of journalists, are some of the new benefits announced in the next step of the government’s media reform program.

By Supplied

Communications minister Paul Fletcher said the new media policy Statement consisted of a number of measures that would benefit local communities.

“This statement follows an extensive consultation process through the Media Reform Green Paper process which saw a range of feedback delivered to the Australian government, including from regional stakeholders, culminating in the policy announcement we are making today,” said minister Fletcher.

“Key measures include support for local broadcasters through the extension of transitional support for eligible regional commercial broadcasters and the announcement of a new $10 million journalist fund that will help regional publications recruit new journalists.

“Importantly we’re also taking action to ensure residents have access to high quality local content and regional cover- age.

“This includes understanding how streaming services are investing in local content and ensuring that they continue to do so through the Streaming Services Investment and Reporting Scheme, as well as asking the ABC to report on its regional footprint.

“A strong media sector is important for so many regional communities,

including in the Parkes electorate, and we are taking action to ensure they are served well.” Member for Parkes Mark Coulton welcomed the reform package and looks forward to seeing how local communities could take advantage.

“The Parkes electorate is home to some wonderful and dedicated local news outlets, which play a crucial role in their respective communities,” Mr Coulton said.

“The journalist fund is an excellent opportunity for local news outlets to secure new talent, upskill existing talent, and to ensure local stories are captured and reported on.

“Likewise, there are potential opportunities there for the electorate if stream- ing services are developing new content; we have a number of great locations available, along with quality businesses who can provide support, and I am keen to see our communities take advantage of those opportunities should they arise.

“Local media is essential for social cohesion, keeping people informed, and ensuring our democracy remains robust. This reform package provides a number of opportunities to ensure that happens and I welcome the federal government’s announcement.”

The government will continue to consult with industry and communities on a number of measures, including the Streaming Services Investment and Reporting Scheme, with a discussion paper released for comment on the scheme. 

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