Immediate COVID19 relief for Australian media | radioinfo

Immediate COVID19 relief for Australian media

Wednesday 15 April, 2020

The Morrison Government today announced a package of measures to help sustain Australian media businesses as they do their vital work of keeping the community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
The measures include:
 

  • Tax Relief – A 12-month waiver of spectrum tax for commercial radio and television broadcasters
  • Investing in Regional Journalism – A $50 million Public Interest News Gathering program
  • Short-Term Red Tape Relief – Emergency suspension of content quotas in 2020

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said “Many Australians are doing it tough right now and the media sector is sharing that pain, especially in regional areas. Broadcasters and newspapers face significant financial pressure and COVID-19 has led to a sharp downturn in advertising revenue across the whole sector.
 
“We are acting to offer urgent short-term support to the media sector. At the same time we are progressing our December 2019 commitment to consult on the future framework to support Australian stories on our screens.”
 
The Morrison Government will provide $41 million in spectrum tax rebates, offering immediate financial relief to commercial radio and television broadcasters across Australia.
 
The new $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program will support public interest journalism delivered by commercial television, newspaper and radio businesses in regional Australia.
 
PING 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). This responds to the ACCC’s recommendation, in its Digital Platforms Inquiry, to enhance the RSPJIP to better support high quality news, particularly in regional and remote Australia.
 
“The Government recognises that public interest journalism is essential in informing and strengthening local communities,” Minister Fletcher said.

Responding to today’s announcement of a government relief package for media, CEO of Nine, Hugh Marks, said, “We thank the Minister for his efforts and the measures announced today which provide some short term relief to Australia’s media businesses. However, the current COVID- 19 crisis only serves to further highlight the need for urgent long term solutions to the regulatory imbalance between highly regulated domestic media players and unregulated international technology companies.”

Commercial Radio Australia CEO, Joan Warner, says, "...the measures announced today do not go far enough in addressing the pressures facing the radio industry."

See more on the CRA response here

 
More information about the measures announced today, as well as a copy of the Options Paper, can be found at www.communications.gov.au/media_package.

 

 
 

 
 
 
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