Government ‘takes Community out of Radio’ in digital radio funding cut

The CBAA has responded to the Federal Budget saying that it has failed to maintain funding for metropolitan community digital radio services in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, and has “taken the community out of radio.”

In its condemnation the CBAA stated, “The loss of $1.4 million per annum puts all community digital radio services at risk.  This comes at the same time as commercial broadcasters are set to benefit from a 25% reduction in licence fees.”

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia CEO Jon Bisset (pictured) says this move raises some serious concerns regarding the future of Australian media.

“Potentially, it excludes community broadcasters from a digital broadcasting future and threatens the whole community broadcasting sector’s role as a key pillar in Australian broadcasting.

“This unfortunate decision reflects the lack of value that the government places on these media services that contribute to public interest outcomes and media diversity, generate high levels of local and specialist content, and provide opportunities for participation in free-to-air media.

“This is particularly concerning given the planned reforms to media ownership, which are likely to result in a less diverse media landscape and less opportunities for community participation.

“Without community radio, the opportunities to share local stories and news and hear local voices will be incredibly limited, and so too will be the chance to build engaged, resilient and vibrant communities through fair and meaningful access to broadcast media.

“For over 40 years, Australian Governments have been committed to community radio standing alongside commercial and national radio services on available free-to-air broadcast platforms. Today, with little explanation, we have seen a reversal of that position.

“We have worked closely with the Government over the last six months to address this issue and ensure the future of the sector. We’re extremely disappointed and will be pursuing the issue further with the Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield.”

Community broadcasting is a key pillar in the Australian media landscape. Over 5 million people tune in to not-for-profit, community-owned and operated radio services operating across the country each week.

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