RTRFM Team with Anthony Albanese MP and Patrick Gorman MP at In The Pines

2019 Federal Election Wrap Up

hfriedlander, 23rd May 2019

The Coalition has been returned for another three-year term after Saturday’s (18 May) federal election.

During the election campaign, the CBAA worked hard to translate support for community broadcasting amongst sitting members of Parliament and candidates across the major parties, minor parties and independents into better policy settings to allow the sector to thrive.

The CBAA sought commitments on two key funding priorities:

  1. To ensure community broadcasting can operate in an environment of certainty, make all community radio funding recurrent, indexed and ongoing, rather than on allocation. 
  2. To meet a growing need for development and operations grant funding, expand funding for the Government’s Community Broadcasting Program by an extra $5.1 million annually to allow a larger development and operations grants pool (through the General Sustainability and Development Fund (GSD)) to meet the growing needs of community radio stations.

We also encouraged stations to get involved in the election by engaging with their local candidates and showing them firsthand the important role community radio plays in their electorates (see some photos below!) 

Wide political support for community broadcasting

We are pleased that the community broadcasting sector continues to receive wide support across the political spectrum. Recognition during the campaign of community broadcasting included:

Patrick Gorman, Tony Burke and Karen Lee RTR FM

  • The Coalition highlighting its ongoing support through its commitment of $19.7 million funding for the community broadcasting sector in the 2019/20 Budget and the extra $12 million package it announced last year to support community digital radio, enhanced community radio news services, streaming services and training.
  • The Australian Labor Party (ALP) acknowledging to the CBAA that “community radio is more important than ever before” and in their National Platform, is committed to ensuring that adequate funding is delivered for the effective ongoing operation and development of the sector.
  • The Greens announcing their support for community radio in their Strengthening Australian Media policy, including support for further funding security for the sector, such as five years’ worth of funding beyond the forward estimates.
  • Long-time supporter of community radio, Tasmania’s independent MP Andrew Wilkie, putting his support behind the CBAA’s key funding priorities, telling the CBAA he will push for these with colleagues in the new parliament.

Due to the advocacy work of First Nations Media Australia, support targeted specifically for First Nations community broadcasters and media organisations was highlighted during the campaign. This included:

  • The Coalition’s ongoing funding support for First Nations community broadcasters through the Community Broadcasting Program administered by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).
  • As part of the ALP’s Fair Go for First Nations plan, the ALP’s commitment to working with First Nations Media to advance their nine calls for action in partnership with the sector.
  • The ALP also pledged $2 million funding to support First Nations media with upgrades to broadcasting, transmission and digital networking equipment as part of the ALP’s strategy to improve connectivity in remote Indigenous communities.
Other relevant policy support

Federal Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield has announced to continue providing over $100 million in support for existing Australian music organisations, projects and programs, plus a $30.9 million four-year Australian Music Industry Package. This includes:

  • The Live Music Australia initiative: $22.5 million over four years to assist small businesses with grants of up to $10,000 each to generate more gigs, covering artist fees and upgrades.
  • Women in Music Mentor program: $2.1 million to deliver a mentoring program to help women take their music career to the next level, including professional training in contract negotiation, marketing, and finance.
  • Indigenous Contemporary Music program: $2.7 million to establish a national development program for touring, recording and planning effective touring circuits.
  • Contemporary Music Touring program boost: $2 million to the Australia Council to increase performance opportunities for musicians, including in regional venues.
  • Sounds Australia expansion: $1.6 million to expand the program to assist the Australian music industry to capitalise on emerging markets in Asia.

The CBAA has also been working with the Community Council for Australia (CCA) to reform fundraising regulation across Australia. The CCA has been working to secure five key commitments, which includes harmonising fundraising laws, boosting sector investment and developing a blueprint for the charity and not-for-profit sector. The CCA welcomes the Morrison Government’s commitment to fundraising reform and calls for more certainty and support across the charities and not-for-profit sector.

What's next?

The CBAA appreciates the long-standing support that successive Federal Governments have provided to the community broadcasting sector for over four decades. On behalf of more than 450 independent radio stations, the CBAA will be calling on the new Government to implement further measures to improve sustainability and innovation in our vibrant media sector. We will engage with all MPs and Senators across the major parties, minor parties and independents to connect them with their local community radio stations, to build support for the sector in Parliament and to create the right policy environment within which the sector can thrive.

Federal Election Photo Collage of Stations

Top right photo (l-r): Patrick Gorman; Karen Lee, RTRFM General Manager; Tony Burke, Federal Member for Watson.

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Updates on submission to the Federal Budget process, political responses to the Music and Arts Economy in NSW report and support for community radio, and CBAA submission to the ACCC - and more.


On Monday, 26 August 2013, the Labor party outlined its position on the future of community broadcasting, leaving the Coalition the only major party yet to reveal its hand.


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.