Federal Budget 2022-23

Alex Crerar, 25th October 2022
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Funding certainty provided for Community Broadcasters

The community broadcasting sector has welcomed the first budget from the Albanese Government tonight.

The Budget handed down by the Treasurer has provided much needed funding certainty for community broadcasting with $88 million allocated over the next four years.

Jon Bisset, CEO of Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, hailed the funding,

“The budget delivers a pre-election commitment from the Albanese Government to provide funding certainty to over 350 community broadcasters providing over 500 broadcast services around the country.”

Jo Curtin, CEO of the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) said the funding would have positive impact on sector sustainability and the media landscape.

“This budget acknowledges the essential role community radio plays in an increasingly concentrated media environment. This funding will enhance the sustainability of our sector which serves as one of the only remaining local sources of news and information, particularly in regional and remote communities.”

Russell Anderson, Executive Officer of the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council (NEMBC) said the funding was important for social inclusion.

“The independent, community broadcasting sector is a group of local, independent radio stations that are at the heart of Australia’s diverse community. Collectively, they provide local information, news, music and cultural content that keeps Australian’s informed and connected.”

Community broadcasting services are provided through FM, AM, DAB+ and via live streaming and on-demand to regional and remote communities, First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, faith-based groups and people living with a print disability among others.

Nathan Brown, CEO of Christian Media and Arts (CMAA) said these stations had served their communities well during bushfires, COVID and continuing floods.

“The bushfires, more recent floods and COVID have highlighted the vital role community radio will continue to play in providing timely, localised emergency information to communities during crises as well as fostering a strong sense of community throughout the recovery.”
 

Budget Background

Funding support for community broadcasting is provided through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts to the Community Broadcasting Program and is administered independently through the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

The CBF provides grants direct to stations and funds sector-wide projects delivered through sector peak bodies.

In the March 2022 Budget, the Australian Government committed to deliver $20.5 million in 2022-23 through the Community Broadcasting Program distributed by the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF).

Approximately $16 million was allocated to recurring activities, including;

  • specialist programming (First Nations broadcasting, $1.27 million; multicultural broadcasting, $4.18 million; RPH radio reading for people with a print disability, $1.36 million)
  • general station operations, development and transmission ($5.12 million)
  • National projects, including: the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project ($0.63 million); national training ($0.69 million); maintenance of current DAB+ digital radio services ($2.44 million), and national content sharing and station website services, $0.68 million).


$4 million was allocated for sector-wide development initiatives in 2022-23 and was not budgeted in the forward estimates of the March 2022 Budget delivered by the Morrison Government.

If this funding shortfall remained it would have brought to an end sector projects that are vital for the future of community broadcasting in Australia including: ongoing development of DAB+ digital radio services, national training for business development skills, enhanced national news and multiplatform adaptation (connecting stations with online audiences via apps, streaming, podcasting and on-demand solutions).

The October 2023 Budget maintains the sector’s base funding of $16-17 million per year but applies annual indexation to this amount. In addition, $4 million per year is provided on a recurring basis.

The community broadcasting sector also benefits from $444,000 - $448,000 per year through the governments Support for Community Sector Organisations. This is part of a broader package of $560 million over four years to essential community services at need of funding supplementation due to additional staff wages pressures and higher inflation outcomes.
 

Budget Year ($'000)

March 2022 Budget

October 2022 Budget

2021-22 Estimated actual

20,149

20,149

2022-23 Budget

20,531

20,975

2023-24 Forward estimate

16,796

21,838

2024-25 Forward estimate

17,200

22,345

2025-26 Forward estimate

17,544

22,721

Total

74,676

87,879


The community broadcasting sector continues to call for an additional $5 million per annum to enhance the sectors impact.

Media Statement on behalf of:

  • Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA)
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA)
  • Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF)
  • Christian Media & Arts Australia (CMAA)First Nations Media Australia (FNMA)
  • National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters (NEMBC)
  • RPH Australia, the peak body for the Radio Reading Network (RPHA)


Contact: Reece Kinnane, CBAA Head of Advocacy and Communications on 0420 525 526 or email reece.kinnane@cbaa.org.au​. 

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