Changes to MP's Office Expenses rules allows support for regional radio | radioinfo

Changes to MP's Office Expenses rules allows support for regional radio

Friday 10 July, 2020

Some good news for regional broadcasters from the Government.

 

Federal MPs representing a rural or provincial electorate will now be allowed to use their office expenses to communicate with constituents using community, commercial and/or open narrowcasting radio. 

The Minster of State, Matthias Corman, wrote to regional MPs some weeks ago to inform them they are now able to use a percentage of their electorate allowances to communicate to their electorates using local radio.

Prior to the government submitting the Parliamentary Business Resources Amendment (Office Expenses No. 2) Regulations 2020, MPs office expenses could “not be used to pay for production or placement of content for broadcasting on television or radio.” 
 
The CBAA has welcomed the changes with CEO Jon Bissett saying, “The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia welcomes this Government support measure, which, when utilised by regional members, will go some way to mitigating the financial impact that COVID-19, drought and bushfires has had on many of our regional stations.
 
“Along with countless Australians, community radio services have faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted significantly on broadcasting resources, staffing and volunteers, and revenue from sponsorship, donations and fundraising.
 
“With 70% of community radio stations in regional Australia, providing hyper-local information, news and announcements read by local voices, this Government support will ensure that community radio stations are well-placed to continue providing their vital services.”

Commercial Radio Australia CEO, Joan Warner has also welcomed the changes, saying, “This is a welcome decision and one that CRA has been discussing with MPs from all parties for some time. The change had unanimous support. Given the fact that around 80% of Australians listen to their local commercial radio stations, the excellent relationships that the majority of local commercial stations have with their local MPs, and the integral part that 220 local commercial radio stations play across 100 regional licence areas, the change was long overdue.
 
“The fact that the allowance could be spent on global digital platforms and not on the hyper-local commercial radio stations was an anomaly that needed to be fixed.”

The changes only affect regional community, commercial and/or open narrowcasting radio, not metro radio or metro and regional TV

 
 

 

 

 

 


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