Coalition’s $8.2m funding promise for community radio

The Coalition has promised to boost funding for community broadcasting in Australia by just over $8 million over four years to “help the sector continue to provide its valuable services to the community”.

The amount, which will go largely to training and transmission, is less than the Community Sector asked for, but never the less will be a welcome boost to the cash strapped sector, which has grown faster than the level of funding in recent years.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan (pictured)announced the funding during a visit to Pulse FM in Geelong with the member for Corangamite Liberal MP Stewart McArthur.

“The Howard Government recognises the community broadcasting sector is unique in the broadcasting industry for its diversity, independence and commitment to providing the community with a platform for expressing views and ideas.

“More than any previous Government, this Government has demonstrated its commitment to community broadcasting and worked hard over the last eight years to support the sector and make it more sustainable,” Coonan told listeners to the station.

During the last eight years the Government has “significantly increased funding to community radio committing $5.4 million in 2003-04” according to Coonan.

”In 2004-05, the Government will continue to provide significant support to the sector, including almost $5.5 million in funding and access to spectrum, a valuable public resource, free of charge.”

If re-elected the Coalition will provide an additional $1.5 million per annum to help community radio stations meet the costs of access to transmission infrastructure and will increase the funding for broadcasting training by $2.2 million over the next four years.

”This additional $8.2 million in support is a sign of the Coalition’s commitment to the community broadcasting sector and to regional and remote areas where community radio stations plays a vital local role in the community,” says Coonan.