New legislation passed Parliament today that will ease the regulatory burden on regional commercial radio and regional and remote commercial television broadcasters, providing greater sustainability of regional voices and preserving greater choice for Australian audiences.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the legislation is the latest step in the Morrison Government’s work to help sustain Australia’s media sector.
“We recognise that many Australian media companies are doing it tough right now as they face unprecedented challenges and falling advertising revenues in the wake of COVID-19,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The Government has moved quickly to support the sector through tax relief for broadcast spectrum as well as the $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) fund to support commercial television, radio and newspaper businesses in regional Australia.”
“The legislation passed today provides greater certainty for our regional broadcasters and strikes the right balance between supporting them through reduced regulatory and compliance burden, while making sure Australian stories continue to be told.”
The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020 allows greater flexibility and lowers the regulatory burden for regional commercial radio broadcasters in meeting their local content obligations, while maintaining local content requirements for the benefit of regional Australians.
The legislation also makes it easier for 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.
“We know that public interest journalism is vital in keeping communities informed and the Government continues to look closely at the policy framework for our regional and metropolitan media to support them to continue to provide their vital service to the Australian community.”