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Media Diversity in Australia inquiry

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 21st January 2021
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In November 2020, the Senate referred an inquiry into the state of media diversity, independence and reliability in Australia to the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee.

Community radio is a strong supporter of media diversity across Australia.

Community broadcasters are key parts of the wide-ranging media ecosystem – producing and broadcasting both hyperlocal and national news for millions of listeners across Australia; creating significant employment, training and pathways opportunities; and, ultimately, strengthening Australia’s democracy by sharing diverse content from diverse and underrepresented voices.

Yet across the country, community radio stations have faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted significantly on broadcasting resources, staffing and volunteers, and revenue sources in sponsorship, donations and fundraising.

The CBAA made a submission to this important inquiry. The CBAA's submission highlighted:

  • community broadcasting's unique role in Australia's media landscape and wide listenership;
  • the sector's size and point of difference;
  • the sector's production of hyperlocal news and public interest journalism and initiatives to increase its production;
  • the importance of a newswire to the community broadcasting sector; and
  • barriers and challenges facing the sector, including drought, bushfires, COVID-19 and digital disruption.

To enhance the role community broadcasting plays for local, regional and specialised communities, the CBAA proposed a number of recommendations.

These recommendations called for optimised funding arrangements for the sector, particularly calling for the renewal of targeted funding for community digital radio, online services, enhanced news, and enhanced training projects. Without the renewal of targeted funding for these projects, these workstreams will be impacted or curtailed from 1 July 2021.

The CBAA also seeks an increase in funding available to stations via the Community Broadcasting Foundation's Development and Operations Grants to ensure stations can recover sustainably from and thrive after the pandemic.

The CBAA also seeks regulatory reform to enhance the sector's impact - ensuring a regulatory framework that embeds and reflects best practice not-for-profit governance to foster station sustainability and viability. 

The CBAA also reiterated support for broad Government support and funding measures that would enhance public interest journalism, and would be available across the industry - to commercial, public and community broadcasters and publishers.

The CBAA thanks members and industry stakeholders that participated in consultation regarding the submission. You can read the submission in fulll via our Submissions Page

If you have questions, please contact Holly Friedlander Liddicoat on 02 9310 2999 or via holly.friedlander@cbaa.org.au

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