Subject: Community TV.
HOST TOM JOHNSTON: Labor MP and Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland has been a long-time advocate for Community Television. I asked her if the internet is a viable medium for Community Television, even now in 2017.
MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Part of the problem is this Government has always said by going over the top you can rely on the internet in order to have a delivery platform, but at the same time while Malcolm Turnbull was Communications Minister he was pretty busy stuffing up the NBN.
JOHNSTON: How important is consultancy? We haven't necessarily seen much of it but it seems like the real key issue with this transition?
ROWLAND: One of the biggest problems for the sector was the Government’s announcement in 2014, basically saying ‘go over the top’ without really giving the support or a long term vision so having a consultative process has been pretty pivotal and from I see this government abjectly failed in that regard.
JOHNSTON: It was such a late decision it was literally days before they were cut off. Why do you see that happening?
ROWLAND: Well it’s the same situation we had when the last extension was granted. It looks as though the Government doesn't turn its mind to the importance of Community TV until the last minute and by doing these six month extensions, I know again from feedback, it’s really hard for stations to make the necessary adjustments. I guess the question for Community TV is ‘are we really just looking at the next six months or does this Government have a long term plan?’ and the answer to that second question seems like a no.
HOST: Michelle Rowland, she's the Shadow Minister for Communications, ending that story by the Wire's Tom Johnston and we did try and contact the Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, but he was unavailable for comment.