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Federal budget continues to chip away at community radio funding

Helen Henry, 13th May 2015

Last night's 2015 Federal Budget continued the Administered Program Indexation Pause for an additional two years. This disappointing news will see the community broadcasting sector having to tighten its belt to cope with further chipping away at the budgets of Australia's 440+ community radio stations. 

“The extension of the Indexation Pause by a further two years ultimately represents an incremental withdrawal of Government support. The community broadcasting sector lost over $1 million in Australian Government funding support through the initial impact of the Administered Program Indexation Pause and now faces a further substantial loss through its extension,” said Community Broadcasting Association of Australia President, Adrian Basso. 

“If the pause continues, the Government risks the slow demise of some in our sector, which contributes so much to the cultural life of Australia. Community stations, particularly the two thirds of community radio stations that operate in regional and remote areas, cannot absorb the pause forever and, over time, this will see services lost. The social and cultural impacts of this loss would include a reduction in the creation of unique local content and services which support community identities and social inclusion, reduced media diversity and a diminished voice for communities not adequately serviced by other media."

Also in this budget, $158.3 million was allocated to implement national security laws in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (data retention) Act. 

On this, Basso remarked: 

''Most urgent for the community radio sector is clarity on whether measures in this legislation to protect journalists will extend to community broadcasters. The clear inclusion of community broadcasters in the Act's definition of journalism is essential to the sector's ability to contribute to and reflect Australia's open society, strong democracy and vibrant culture. Community broadcasters, including volunteer journalists, produce fierce, independent journalism with local voices and the Government must ensure that the definition of journalism in the Act builds upon this role, rather than undermines it”.

In coming years, the community digital radio shortfall must be addressed to ensure community radio stations maintain their presence on the new technology platform. While digital radio listening is increasing, a shortfall looms in the funding to keep community digital radio stations broadcasting. Addressing this will be a key budget priority for the community broadcasting sector over the next period.

The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia champions community broadcasting by building stations' capability and creating a healthy environment for the sector to thrive. There are more than 440 community radio stations broadcasting across the country. Almost 5 million Australians aged 15+ years listen to community radio each week. 

Media inquiries should be directed to Helen Henry via email or on 02 9310 2999.

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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.


The 2023-2024 Federal Budget was handed down last night by the Treasurer Jim Chalmers. Budget papers show the allocation to the Community Broadcasting Program has increased in dollar amount because it has been indexed to keep up with rising costs, which is now part of ongoing budget policy.


A community radio sector wide campaign has been launched by the CBAA to address a $1.4m funding shortfall in the upcoming budget to support current community digital radio services in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.