Greens call on Govt to save regional papers and reverse ABC cuts
The Federal Government must urgently unlock the Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package to save regional and community newspapers during the COVID-19 crisis and reverse funding cuts to the ABC which is now more important than ever, the Greens say.
Greens Spokesperson for Media Senator Sarah Hanson-Young wrote to the Minister for Communications a week ago asking him to intervene to help prevent the closure of regional media outlets but is yet to see or hear anything from him.
“Right now the community needs good, local, accurate news and information and yet every day there is news of another regional paper closing their doors," Senator Hanson-Young said.
“Today we have learned The Bunyip in Gawler, SA, a paper that has existed since 1857, has closed and plenty more across the country have done so before it and will continue to without government help.
“The $40m Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package should immediately be used to support struggling regional media outlets. The Minister doesn’t need to find more money, this package can be transitioned to keep jobs and the presses going.”
Senator Hanson-Young said the Government should also reverse its cuts to the ABC.
“With local media being forced to shut up shop in small towns, regions, and even now in our suburbs, the role of our public broadcasters are more important than ever," she said.
“Ratings show the ABC almost doubled its audience in the past month – it is clearly an essential service that must be adequately funded.
“Ensuring regional news outlets stay open and preventing job cuts at the ABC is the least the Communications Minister can do during this pandemic.”
Copy of the letter to the Minister is here.