Friday, 19 June 2020 13:14

Government ‘fails’ regional commercial radio, TV on regulatory burdens, says Rowland Featured


The Federal Government’s failure to get a bill passed through parliament reducing the regulatory burden for regional commercial radio and television broadcasters, has been slammed by the Labor Party.

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.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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