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.

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. Now we want to translate this support into better policy settings to allow the community broadcasting sector to thrive.

We've identified and are seeking commitments on two key policy recommendations:
1. To ensure community broadcasting can operate in an environment of certainty, make all community radio funding recurrent, indexed and ongoing, rather than on allocation. Anthony Albanese and RTRFM

Given the demonstrable importance of community broadcasting and its pivotal role in supporting media diversity in the public interest (independent from commercial or political influence), it is crucial that future Governments ensure that sector funding has ongoing certainty. The current arrangement of having the sector rely on yearly budget decisions for significant funding is unsustainable in the long-term.

Currently, funding for digital radio roll out, as well as funding targeted at enhanced news programming, improved online presence and industry skills development is not included in the forward estimates from 2021/22. 

2. To meet a growing need for development and operations grant funding, expand funding for the Government’s 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.

Operating costs for community radio stations have been rising, particularly for core costs such as transmission expenses. In 2018/19, the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) received 298 funding applications from community radio organisations for general development and operations funding – a total request of just over $14 million. Despite the rising costs facing community broadcasting stations, the CBF’s General Sustainability and Development (GSD) fund has not received an increase in Government funding since 2011. Due to its need to manage limited funds, the CBF has been unable to meet the demand for general development and operational funding requests from community radio stations. 

The GSD currently manages base funds of $4.9 million per annum. An increase of $5.1 million would take this to a total of $10 million, and will enable the CBF to continue awarding grants based on merit, while more readily meeting the demand from community stations.

Receiving general development and operational funding can be transformative for community radio stations and the communities they serve, particularly those is rural and remote parts of the country, helping them meet the full costs of their development projects. The extra funding will help expand and/or strengthen the operations and broadcast capabilities of community broadcasting stations through core support like infrastructure and operational costs, as well as supporting development projects including capacity building initiatives and training that improve stations’ governance practices, community engagement and technical capacity.

How can you help? Tony Burke and Patrick Gorman

Are you a community radio broadcaster or station representative? 

During this election campaign the CBAA will be working with stations to engage their local candidates – whether this be on-air, at community or station-run events or to help them learn more about their stations in their local electorate.

You can help by making sure your support for community radio is known!

If you engage with your local candidates, let them know your support for community radio and the practical policies they can support that can help the sector across Australia.

Tools for Engagement

Do you want to or are you already engaging with political candidates or elected representatives at your station? 

For tips, watch our recent webinar, read tips and ideas in the Political Engagement Toolkit and understand election coverage rules.

If you'd like further advice, please email or call Holly Friedlander Liddicoat on [email protected] or 02 9310 2999.

Latest News
RTRFM Team with Anthony Albanese MP and Patrick Gorman MP at In The Pines

hfriedlander, 23rd May 2019

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


hfriedlander, 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

hfriedlander, 3rd May 2019

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

2BOB Meet the Candidates

hfriedlander, 3rd May 2019

2BOB's Meet the Candidates for the Federal seat of Lyne was held in Taree's (NSW) Uniting Church Auditorium on Wednesday, 24 April.


cbaacomms, 18th April 2019

Perth community radio station RTRFM 92.1 has asked Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Federal Member for Perth Patrick Gorman to support the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia’s 2019 election policy agenda to Keep Community Radio.

CBAA logo

cbaacomms, 11th April 2019

In the lead up to the Federal Election on Saturday, 18 May 2019, the CBAA is seeking to translate support for community broadcasting amongst sitting members of Parliament and candidates across the major parties, minor parties and independents into better policy settings to allow the sector to thrive.