A motion was moved in Parliament today calling on the Australian Government to increase funding targeted for community digital radio long term, taking the Commonwealth contribution to $4.5M per annum in 2018-19, and commit to funding community radio at that level, indexed, on an ongoing basis.
It was in May the Turnbull Government announced new funding of $6.1 million over two years for the community radio sector to support digital radio services and one-off spectrum reorganisation costs for analog radio services.
The funding, announced as part of the Federal Government’s Budget 2017-18, is in addition to $15 million per annum already provided through the Community Broadcasting Program.
Of the funding, $1.9 million will be allocated in 2017-18 and $2 million in 2018-19 to assist the community radio sector with the costs of digital radio broadcasting, including for the planned expansion of digital radio to permanent services in Hobart, Canberra, Darwin and the Gold Coast.
Seantors Hinch, Ludlam, Xenophon and Lambie are expected to put the motion forward.
It follows calls by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon for the Federal government to support independent media and ensure Australian voices continue to be heard in news and media.
Senator Xenophon remains a key player as the Government tackles media reform.
The South Australian will offer support if reforms improve the ability of Australian media to compete with digital media companies such as facebook and google “who don’t employ one journalist in this country,” and if it improves the quality of journalism, especially in regional media.