Government reintroduces the ABC Amendment Bill

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has re-introduced legislation which would create a regional advisory council for the ABC to reflect on the views of local communities.
The council will be made up of members who have a substantial connection to, or substantial experience in, a regional community through business, industry or community involvement.
The Minister told the Parliament, “The bill will broaden (the ABC) mandate to ensure (their) charter makes specific reference to the function for the ABC’s broadcasting programs to contribute to a sense of regional as well as national identity, and reflect the geographic as well as cultural diversity of the Australian community.”
The bill would require the ABC to increase coverage and involvement with rural and regional areas and Mr Fletcher concluded, “As a whole, the bill contains a range of measures to strengthen the focus of the ABC on rural and regional communities. These constitute important safeguards for those Australians living outside the capital cities and larger metropolitan areas.”
A spokesman for the ABC said it “will always prioritise its investment” in regional and rural Australia.
“The ABC is unparalleled in its service to regional Australians. While commercial media retreats from rural and regional Australia, the ABC’s commitment is stronger than ever,” the spokesman said.
“This Bill is identical to one introduced to Parliament in 2017. Despite further cuts to its budget, over the last two years the ABC has increased its investment in regional media by $15 million per annum, creating an additional 80 new jobs.”




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