Labor shadow ministers call for clarity on radio as an essential service

As COVID-19 restrictions on movement tighten around Australia, radio staff are increasingly uncertain of their official status as essential workers because it has not yet been publicly clarified by Federal or State governments (see our earlier report).

Labor shadow Attorney General Mark Drefus and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland have told radioinfo it is “incumbent upon Federal, State and Territory Ministers to ensure media and communications services continue to be recognised as an essential service.”
“Media and communications services are essential for keeping Australians connected and informed, yet key sectors remain deeply uncertain as to whether they will be permitted to continue to carry out this critical role during the Coronavirus crisis,” they said.
The public’s right to know has never been more important, according to the shadow ministers. “It is essential the Australian people can continue to access trusted sources of news and information.”
“As this unprecedented crisis escalates, it is imperative that Federal, State and Territory Ministers affirm the essential role of media and communications services and key personnel across the print media, radio and TV broadcasters – including national, community, commercial and subscription services – ISPs, telcos and postal services.”

The media industry is putting practical measures and mechanisms in place, such as allowing staff to work remotely, and providing employer letters or other documentation, to help key personnel carry on their work unhindered, but there is no assurance this will satisfy authorities without recognition of media as essential services
The Labor minister have asked governments to “clarify the state of play for essential services where possible.”



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