Strengthening Support for Community Radio - Federal Election 2019

Community broadcasting is a key pillar in the Australian media landscape and contributes to our open society, strong democracy and cultural vibrancy. Patrick Gorman, Tony Burke and Karen Lee RTR FM

The CBAA has been working hard to build greater support for the sector among sitting members of Parliament and candidates across the major parties, minor parties and independents. In the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election, we want to translate this support into better policy settings to allow the community broadcasting sector to thrive.

The CBAA has identified and will be seeking commitments on two key policy recommendations that will help ensure the sustainability and growth of community broadcasting services to meet community needs:

1. Long-term funding certainty

To ensure community broadcasting remains viable and can operate in an environment of certainty, we ask parties to commit to making all community radio funding recurrent, indexed and ongoing, rather than on allocation.

2. Strengthen financial support for community broadcasting

Expand funding for the Community Broadcasting Program by an extra $5.1 million annually to allow a larger development and operations grants pool (through the General Sustainability and Development Fund (GSD)) to meet the growing needs of community radio stations. 

Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

Keep The Community In Your Radio - 2016 Federal Budget

Keep Community Radio

In the 48 hours after the delivery of the Federal Budget in May, the CBAA and sector launched the Keep the Community in Your Radio campaign.

Almost 55,000 people signed the campaign petition, and the CBAA visited 16 MPs and candidates, including the Minister, to deliver the names of voters in their electorates who signed the petition. The campaign included nearly 40 emails to the ever-growing CBAA database, now over 100,000 supporters strong, encouraging various actions to support community radio.

The best results were achieved when stations themselves were active in the campaign, especially on the National Day of Action, which saw our petition almost double in size. As well as helping #keepcommunityradio trend on Twitter for the whole day, and prompting almost 90,000 people to talk about the campaign on Facebook, stations and community radio supporters around the country got involved on-air and we saw huge support from the music industry, media personalities, and high profile community leaders.

Community radio's voice was ringing loud and clear. The campaign successfully got the attention of all parties and the sector received commitments from The Labor Party, The Greens and The Nick Xenophon Team to restore funding for community digital radio. 

In July 2016, the Coalition returned to Government as the only party not committed to restoring funding for digital community radio. The CBAA, with support of the sector, continued to lobby and campaign for the cross-party support that community radio has enjoyed for the last 40 years. 

In May 2017, the Federal Government announced that it would increase funding for the sector by $6.1m over two years, with funding targeted for digital radio ($1.9m in 2017/18 and $2m in 2018/19) and support for stations affected by the reorganisation of the 803-960 MHz radio frequency band ($2.2m).

Find out more:

Keep Community Radio - Image

Commit To Community Radio

Commit to Community Radio - National Commission of Audit

The 2014 Commission of Audit recommended that funding for the Community Broadcasting Program be scrapped. If the Federal Government adopted the recommendation in the subsequent budget, community broadcasters would have been at serious risk. 

Community broadcasting has always been significantly self-funded. The level of ongoing Federal Government funding through the Community Broadcasting Program provides just 8.5 per cent of average station income.

Community radio from across the country launched a large scale campaign during the week in an attempt to safeguard community broadcasting from funding cuts, following the Commission of Audit’s recommendation that the funding be scrapped.

The efforts of community broadcasting supporters, through the Commit to Community Radio campaign, ensured that the Commission of Audit recommendations were not accepted in the 2014 budget. This was another victory for the sector and proved the value of supporter engagement through this campaign.

2019 Federal Election
RTRFM Team with Anthony Albanese MP and Patrick Gorman MP at In The Pines

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 23rd May 2019

We are pleased that the community broadcasting sector continues to receive wide support across the political spectrum.


Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 21st May 2019

The Community Council for Australia, which the CBAA is a member of, has commended the Morrison Government on their re-election, welcomed their commitment to fundraising reform, and called for more certainty and support across the charities sector.

First Nations Media logo

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 3rd May 2019

Labor announces $2m to support First Nations Media with upgrades to broadcasting, transmission and digital networking equipment.