$19 million for ABC Regional and Local programming

The Government has renewed funding for the ABC’s Regional and Local Programming initiative, with funding of $19.1 million in 2008–09, to boost the national broadcaster’s capacity to provide locally relevant television and radio coverage.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan says the funding “demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the ABC can continue to provide local content for all Australians to enjoy, regardless of where they live.”

Today’s announcement is in line with commitments made during the budget process, extending the Regional and Local Programming funding and aligning it with the ABC’s triennial funding which runs until the end of 2008–09.

Since it began in 2000–01, the initiative has commissioned 1,235 hours of television, an additional 9400 hours per year of new local radio content and funded four new regional radio studios. It has also funded the creation of the Regional Production Fund, which has commissioned 533 hours of regional radio production from independent producers since late 2001.

The new funding is additional to the $13.2 million increase over three years that was announced in the 06–07 Budget.