Parliament Must Act on Media Reforms to Protect Australian Jobs says Minister
Australian Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, has labelled the move by Network Ten to enter voluntary administration as a “wake-up call” to opponents of media reform.
“That a major Australian media organisation is in such difficulty should be a matter of concern,” said the Minister. “The Turnbull Government and industry leaders have been warning for some time that Australia’s media industry is under pressure and needs reform. While the Government has sought to progress important reforms such as the abolition of the two out of three rule since March 2016, Labor’s response has been to frustrate and delay their passage. They have displayed a callous disregard for the impact their actions are having on an industry that desperately needs reform. Labor’s gamesmanship has limited the options for organisations like Ten.
“The Government’s Media Reform package has the historic and unprecedented support of the entire Australian media industry, yet Labor continues to ignore their pleas. But it is not too late. I call on Bill Shorten and Labor to abandon their politically motivated opposition and show they care about the Australian media industry and the men and women whose livelihoods depend on it.
“The Government’s reforms are vital measures that will unshackle Australia’s media industry from redundant laws and allow it to respond to increasing international competition. The reforms support Australian jobs, will strengthen local content obligations, and bring our media laws into the digital age.”
The Government’s package includes:
- Abolishing broadcasting licence fees and datacasting charges;
- Applying a fee for the spectrum that broadcasters use at a level more reflective of the current media landscape;
- Further restrictions on gambling advertising in live sporting events across all platforms;
- Amending the anti-siphoning scheme and list;
- Repealing the two out of three and 75% audience reach media ownership rules;
- A broad ranging and comprehensive review of Australian and children’s content; and
- Funding to support the broadcasting of women’s and niche sports.
“There is a lot of talk about media diversity, but the greatest threat to diversity in Australian media would be the failure of Australian media organisations,” said Senator Fifield. “The strength and viability of Australian media voices can only be enhanced by allowing the industry more options as to how it configures itself. It is now time for the Parliament to come together, support the package as a whole and give Australian media organisations a fighting chance.”
More details about the Broadcast and Content Reform Package are available at: www.communications.gov.au/bcrp
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