CBAA welcomes Labor election announcement

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 13th May 2022
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The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) welcomes Labor’s announcement today regarding their commitment to support community broadcasting.

With over 500 services across the country, community radio reaches more than 5 million listeners a week, and particularly underserved communities including First Nations and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Ms Michelle Rowland MP, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications, has announced their $29m regional, local and community media package, aimed to ensure our communities continue to get the local and independent news they need.

The package recognises the vital role of community broadcasting in emergency broadcasting, promoting local content including Australian music, and will help our sector thrive post-COVID and after recent natural disasters. It promises $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. This is the base level of funding required to support community radio station operations and content development, and vital industry-wide initiatives like community DAB+ digital radio.

If Labor were successful in the election and formed Government, they would also work with the sector to identify a sustainable funding basis for the future through the Government’s Community Broadcasting Program. The CBAA has long advocated for an increase in sector funding to $25m per annum to maintain the sector’s output, which would further enhance station resilience and innovation.

Jon Bisset, CBAA’s CEO, said, “We are very pleased at today’s announcement, which shows Labor recognises the vital role community radio plays in supporting vibrant Australian communities. Across our sector, stations have been at the forefront of providing support and connection through recent disasters – like Bay FM’s relief efforts for Byron Shire, connecting people with critical services, meals, and medical care after the recent floods. They are also innovating to ensure regional communities don’t miss out on important news and information – like Outback Radio in Bourke and Torres Strait Islanders Media Association’s 4MW who returned their local papers to their communities.”

“This commitment to funding for our sector protects our stations’ base funding, and maintains critical sector-wide projects, like DAB+ community radio. This means we can enhance listeners’ choice and media diversity. If Labor is elected, we look forward to working with them to identify a sustainable funding basis for the future that further empowers our stations to continue their vital work connecting, supporting and building resilient communities right across Australia.”

The package also recognises the integral role of community television in adding to Australia’s media diversity, local news and Australian content. Labor commits to keeping community TV stations Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide on air until there is an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they occupy, and ensure efficient use of this finite, scarce and valuable resource.

This is the first 2022 Federal Election announcement in support of community broadcasting. For more information, please see the CBAA’s call for support.

Media:

Contact: Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, CBAA’s Head of Advocacy and Communications on 0481 855 598 or email holly.friedlander@cbaa.org.au

Read Michelle Rowland's release.

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