David Littleproud has welcomed the Federal Government’s $50 mllion support package to aid struggling rural and regional journalism among the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Littleproud has welcomed the Federal Government’s $50 mllion support package to aid struggling rural and regional journalism among the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maranoa MP: Media funding to keep rural communities informed

MARANOA MP David Littleproud has welcomed the Federal Government’s $50 million boost to aid struggling rural and regional journalism in the wake of COVID-19.

Like many industries, public interest journalism in rural and regional parts of the country have suffered as a result of COVID-19, and the latest package will ensure communities can continue to rely on mastheads and channels in this time of national uncertainty.

In his electorate, News Corp titles include The Western Star, Chinchilla News, Dalby Herald, Warwick Daily News, Stanthorpe Border Post, The Western Times, and The Balonne Beacon.

“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has had a very serious impact on media organisations – in Maranoa and across Australia – with a huge drop in advertising and the cancellation of local events only adding to that pain,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Across Maranoa, communities rely on local newspapers, radio stations and TV stations to stay informed about current events and in touch with their community.

“The Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program will help support local newspapers, radio and TV stations through the pandemic and in turn, help secure local media jobs.

“That’s so important for keeping communities connected as we get through this pandemic

The PING program will target commercial television, newspaper and radio businesses in regional Australia and builds on the Government’s announcement last week to bring forward $5 million in emergency funding for public interest journalism from the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, said the media’s role is more vital than ever in providing quality news and accurate information.

“We are acting swiftly to offer urgent short term support to the media sector,” Minister Fletcher said.

The program is funded with $13.4 million in new money as well as repurposing unallocated funds from the Government’s Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package (RSPJIP).

Measures include:

  • Investing in Regional Journalism – A $50 million Public Interest News Gathering program
  • Tax Relief – A 12-month waiver of $41 million in spectrum tax for commercial television and radio broadcasters
  • Short-Term Red Tape Relief – Emergency suspension of content quotas in 2020
  • Harmonising Regulation to Support Australian Content – Release of an Options Paper developed by Screen Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority, commencing a fast tracked consultation process on how best to support Australian stories on our screens

More information on the PING program can be found at www.communications.gov.au/media_package.