MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
NEW FINANCIAL YEAR BUT IS THIS THE LAST FOR COMMUNITY TV?
Despite the eleventh hour reprieve to extend the licences for Channel 31 and Channel 44, the question remains: will this be the last financial year for community TV?
While Labor congratulates community TV sector staff, producers and volunteers for their strong campaign and hard work to #KeepTVLocal, we remain concerned that the Minister for Communications has simply kicked the can down the road and will seek to boot CTV off air in 12 months, whether ready or not.
Labor has backed community TV every step of the way: moving a successful motion in the Senate, making representations in the House and making representations directly to the Minister to keep community TV on air.
While it may be a policy of this Liberal National Government to boot community TV off air, the fact is that long-standing Commonwealth law recognises community television broadcasting services.
For 25 years, community TV has promoted the objects of both the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and delivered a host of public interest benefits.
Now, six years after Malcolm Turnbull’s flawed decision to send community TV online, the current Minister admits there is still no planned alternative use for the spectrum, and talks of “digital transition” for services which are already digital.
This Government’s inept handling of community TV has caused needless uncertainty for the sector, contributed to the closure of stations in other capital cities and constitutes an act of vandalism in the Communications Portfolio.
As the huge outpouring of public support shows, community TV is an anchor for our society, distinct to YouTube and bigger than the Minister of the day.
Uncertainty remains, but one thing is clear: the Liberals and Nationals can’t be trusted when it comes to supporting all facets Australia’s media sector, including community TV.
WEDNESDAY, 1 JULY 2020