2022 Federal Election wrap up

Frieda Lee, 18th May 2022
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Labor's win at Saturday’s federal election secures the promise of $12m for community radio ($4m a year over three years), securing the sector’s minimum base level of funding at just over $20m per annum – extending beyond what is marked in the forward estimates from 2023-24.

Labor's campaign promise is a testament to the value of community radio stations across the country. It is the incredible work community radio stations do that enables us to make a strong case for supporting our sector.

Through the strong relationship we have built with Michelle Rowland's office before the 2019 election, the CBAA was able to secure a $12m pre-election promise to maintain community broadcasting funding for three years. We worked closely with Michelle and her advisors to keep them across our issues and ensure that they understand the value of community radio and our policy positions.

In a statement put out by Michelle Rowland, Labor recognised the contribution of community radio to a resilient Australian community.

"Labor’s commitment will maintain community broadcasting funding so the sector can continue to support their communities with local news, emergency broadcasting and local content, including Australian music, as well as with post-COVID recovery and post-natural disaster initiatives."

Labor's $12m promise secures funding for community radio station operations and content development, and vital industry-wide initiatives like community DAB+ digital radio. It is the baseline our sector needs to survive.

Labor also announced that if in Government they would work to address a sustainable funding model for the sector, and we'll work with them to secure a commitment of an additional $5m. This would improve station resilience, and innovation, and come closer to meeting the total amount of money requested by stations in CBF's Development and Operations grants funding. Read more on the Labor announcement.

Broad support for community broadcasting

We were also pleased to see broad support for community broadcasting across the political spectrum during the campaign. We met with politicians on all sides and the response to our priorities was positive:

  • The Greens committed to guaranteeing future funding for the community broadcasting sector as part of the Greens policy initiative on strengthening media diversity. The policy recognises the uncertainty we have faced due to short funding cycles. In an effort to support our ability to deliver content and produce public interest journalism the Greens committed to locking in five years' worth of funding to provide our sector with the security to plan ahead. Read more.
  • The Nationals promised to continue supporting community radio. Barnaby Joyce said, “whether it’s Tenterfield, whether it’s Glen Innes, whether it’s Tamworth - all these community radio stations are vitally important. I make sure we’ve got funding for all those community radio stations because they’re the only ones who give us genuine, non-syndicated community views and community news. So we’re going to keep doing that. We’ve done it in the past. We’ll continue to do it now." Read more here.
  • While there was no formal announcement from the Coalition, we met with Paul Fletcher's office in the lead up to the election and thank the outgoing Minister for the ongoing support of community radio in successive Federal Budgets.

We were also pleased to see support for our community TV colleagues, including from The Greens and Labor. Read more.

What's next?

Labor's support puts the sector on steady ground financially for three years. But we won't stop here - we will continue working very hard to secure an additional $5 million to be distributed directly to stations through CBF Development and Operations grants, on top of the committed $20 million per annum.

We'll also continue to work closely with the Department and the ACMA to ensure an optimal regulatory and legislative environment to support strong community broadcasters.

We're also looking forward to working with new MPs and Senators to develop support for and understanding of community broadcasters.

Thank you and well done!

On behalf of the sector, thank you and well done to all the stations who engaged with their local politicians in the lead up to the election. It's been a great election for community radio and your hard work and probing questions have played an important role in building support and securing commitments from all sides.

A photo of Barnaby Joyce and David Gillespie sitting at the studio desk with Sta FM workers standing beside them  

Pictured L-R: Barnaby Joyce and David Gillespie at Sta FM in Inverell, 2MFM interview with Scott Morrison; Patrick Gorman at RTR FM.

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