Greens Spokesperson for Communications Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has today written to Minister Paul Fletcher asking him to extend the free-to-air broadcast licences for Community TV in Adelaide and Melbourne.
The current broadcast licences expire on June 30, after six short-term licence renewals which caused much instability for the sector leading to closures of stations in other capital cities.
“Given the significant concessions the Federal Government has offered to commercial broadcaster in recent weeks, including spectrum fee relief and a suspension of the local content rules, if seems only fair that community, not-for-profit broadcasters can be at least given an extension of their licence,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“Covid19 has created an uncertain future for many in the communications and arts sector, this is one area the government has the ability to easily and painlessly help offer some stability and support.
“It would be a terrible shame at any time to lose Community TV, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. All the Minister has to do is renew the licence, CTV isn’t asking for money, only a spectrum to broadcast on.
“If there is no alternative use for the spectrum and it will just become ‘white noise’ there is no reason to not renew the licence. Given CTV has been advised by ACMA there is no alternative use planned for at least five years then the renewal period should be for that length of time.
“It is unfair CTV continues to have to fight the same battle with the Morrison Government. The case for renewal is even stronger given the global coronavirus pandemic which has resulted in more people consuming even more broadcast content than ever.
“CTV provides content for culturally and linguistically diverse members of our community and therefore programming that isn’t available on commercial TV.
“Right now, Government should be providing certainty where it can to workers and the community.
“CTV is an invaluable service for multicultural communities, journalists, screen and media practitioners and students as well as many volunteers. It would be a terrible shame to take CTV away for no reason at all and the Greens will doing all we can to help save it.”