Indexation freeze carves $3 million hole in community broadcast funding

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann this week revealed the impact of the May Federal Budget’s indexation freeze on community broadcasters.
The freezing of the indexation to the Community Broadcasting Program means that Federal Government contributions to the sector will be $3.093 million less over four years than it would have been if indexation was applied.

Now that they know the financial impact of the budget, community radio and television broadcasters will start working to quantify how this will affect their services.
CBAA General Manager Jon Bisset (pictured) has told radioinfo: 

Community radio stations are often run on a shoestring, on the sweat of volunteers and donations from the community.


Whilst Federal Government funding only makes up around 12 per cent of station funding on average, it’s a foundation for the efforts of volunteer producers and presenters. Each dollar spent creates a massive social and economic return.
It’s important that community radio stations are supported to run quality, local services that meet the expectations of their community. They’ve been meeting those expectations, and are right to feel let down by these budget measures.

This will affect community radio stations’ capacity to continue to meet the high standards expected of listeners. We’ll be working with our colleagues in the sector to see what these government budget savings mean to stations on the ground, and to make sure that the quality of services are maintained.

Across Australia, more than 5 million people listen to over 350 permanent licensed community radio stations weekly, for an average of 14.5 hours each week. Nationally 22,000 volunteers donate their time to community broadcasting – including generalist and local stations, ethnic and Indigenous services and communities of interest. Regional and rural stations represent 65% of all stations, and community stations are often the only source of local content in these areas.

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