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Hits and misses for broadcasters in Budget 09

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 13 May 2009

‘No community TV in Wayne's World' - Greens

The Australian Greens say increased funding for the nation's public broadcasters in this year's Federal Budget is welcome but say they are struggling to understand why the Communications Minister has pulled the plug on community television.

"Its' encouraging to see ABC and SBS getting modest funding increases in this year's Federal Budget. The Greens have been campaigning hard on this for years and it's great to see we've scored a win this year," said the Greens' Communications Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam.

"In particular, $167 million dollars to the ABC to increase Australian content and roll out a children's station will be of benefit to many families, but we recognise that it will take much more than this to reverse the effects of a decade of neglect. The $20 million to SBS is positive, but it appears nothing has been done to reduce the broadcaster's reliance on advertising revenue."

"The biggest shock is the Minister's failure to recognise the urgency of the funding shortfall for community broadcasters, for the transition to the digital age and for their survival in the mean time - there is no funding to transition community television into the digital age."

"Our public and community broadcasters play a vital role in keeping Australians linked into their communities. For many living in remote and regional Australia or from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, they provide a vital broadcast service, keeping them informed and connected. By funding these broadcasters adequately, government can support communities under strain. "

"The Government's mantra that ‘we are facing the worst set of financial circumstances since the great depression,' needs to be matched by action to strengthen and support communities under pressure."

"The Greens have been pursuing the government over its failure to support community broadcasters' digital switch for some time. There's not provision for a single community TV station in this Federal Budget, so it seems they'll be no community TV in Wayne's World. I intend to take this up with the Communications Minister."

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