Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said on Friday that the bill addresses an issue the Government considers to be “an early warning sign of market failure” in regional commercial television, “which they’ve sat on since 2017”.
“After finally introducing the bill last week, their attempt to rush it through floundered after a false start,” Rowland said, noting that the Bill had Labor’s support.
“Meanwhile, the Minister still hasn’t announced one dollar of his Public Interest News Gathering (PING) fund, for regional print, radio and television," Rowland said.
“An entire year after the ACCC recommended a new fund and two months since he announced it as “immediate” COVID-19 relief, the Minister still hasn’t delivered anything under the PING.
“In the midst of the pandemic, the Minister’s cruel contempt for essential workers in Post, the ABC and Community Television is on full display.
“Faced with the first recession in 29 years, this Minister is facilitating mass sackings of dedicated workers across his portfolio,” Rowland said, citing:
- Scott Morrison’s "ideological cuts" of $83.7 million will send around 250 ABC staff to the job queue
- Paul Fletcher’s "obstinate refusal" to extend Community Television licences will send staff of Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide to the job queue
- The Government’s decision to slash Australia Post services puts the jobs of up to one in four posties and many others at risk.
“These cuts are unnecessary, short sighted, damaging, and are on this Minister’s head – but it is not too late to reverse them," Rowland said.
“Scott Morrison used to say that if you have a go, you’d get a go.
“Paul Fletcher should reverse the ABC cuts, extend the licences for Community TV and shelve his Australia Post regulations – so these workers can still have a go.”