Greens throw down gauntlet on community broadcasting funding
On Monday, 19 August 2013, the Greens announced that they will commit an additional $27 million per annum to community broadcasting. This announcement has paved the way for other political parties to reveal their plans for growth for this vital sector.
The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) President, Adrian Basso, called on all political parties to release a policy for community broadcasting before the election. “The Greens have thrown down the gauntlet. It’s time for other political parties to show how they plan to support community broadcasters if they win the election.”
“The Greens plan to provide substantially more funding would support genuine media diversity and make a significant and lasting difference to community broadcasting."
The Greens funding announcement, made by Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam, comes just days after the CBAA wrote to all political parties calling for a commitment of additional support to help community broadcasters keep making a significant impact in their local areas.
“Additional funding would support regional and rural stations, community television, radio transmission, and skills training in the sector. Our campaign also calls for ongoing support for digital broadcasting development and Indigenous media and would allow stations to keep doing what they do well – supporting their communities.” Mr Basso said.
Community broadcasting has always been significantly self-funded. The level of ongoing Federal Government funding through the Community Broadcasting Program provides 8.5 per cent of average station income. The Federal Government provides no dedicated ongoing funding support for community television.
“While the amount of Federal Government funding community broadcasting services receive is very modest, it’s crucial to the sector’s ongoing operation and development. The community broadcasting sector is a smart investment: for every dollar the government puts in, the social outcome is huge,” said Mr Basso.
“Community broadcasting provides a voice for local communities that aren’t adequately serviced by commercial or national services, including Indigenous Australians, ethnic communities, religious communities, youth, and the print-impaired. Community services support high levels of local content and information, Australian music and arts, and make a significant contribution to media diversity. We’re looking forward to other political parties joining the Greens in recognising that and committing to meeting the sector’s need ahead of the election.”
For more information on community broadcasting and to join the Commit to Community Radio campaign, go to www.committocommunityradio.org.au