The Greens have welcomed the last minute extension to the free-to-air broadcast licences for Community TV stations Channel 44 in Adelaide and Channel 31 in Melbourne.
Greens Spokesperson for Communications Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“Waiting until the night before Community TV switches off forever to grant an extension to their broadcast licences was a cruel move by the Morrison Government, however this last minute reprieve is welcome.
“Greens Leader and Member for Melbourne Adam Bandt and I have been working with the stations in our home cities of Adelaide and Melbourne to lobby the Minister for Communications for months now.
“CTV jobs and volunteer positions were on the line. The Minister continues to claim switching to a YouTube channel is the answer, knowing full well as the portfolio holder for communications that many CTV viewers don’t even have internet access or digital literacy.
“Every year for six years now CTV has had to fight to use the spectrum despite there being no plans to use it for any other purpose and there being no cost to the government for extending the licences.
“Given the significant concessions the Federal Government has offered to commercial broadcasters, including spectrum fee relief and a suspension of the local content rules, it was only fair that community, not-for-profit broadcasters at least given an extension of their licence.
“CTV is an invaluable service for multicultural communities, journalists, screen and media practitioners and students as well as many volunteers. It would’ve been a terrible loss, especially in this midst of a global pandemic.”