TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
MINISTER SHUFFLES GREEN PAPER WHILE INDUSTRY SEES RED
Emerging midway through the 46th Parliament, Minister Fletcher’s Media Reform Green Paper is late, inadequate and piecemeal and does little to help a media sector now in crisis.
Regional media is crying out for reform yet the paper merely sets out a “potential plan for reform” for only parts of the media regulatory framework with “potential timing” still another year or two from now.
Australia’s screen production sector has been calling on the Government to ‘Make it Australian’ for years yet the uncertainty around the application of Australian content obligations to streaming services like Netflix is set to drag on past May 2021.
The Minister wants to amend the ABC Act and SBS Act for Australian content yet Liberal National Government funding cuts have forced the ABC to reduce its level of Australian content and cut its commissioning budget by $5 million per annum.
While the Minister ponders potential future trusts for Australian screen content and public interest news gathering, funded out of spectrum auctions in 2025, many newspapers, broadcasters and producers are now struggling to survive.
Minister Fletcher’s media reform roadmap of December 2019 went nowhere. Now his “potential plan” for media reform to “2026 and beyond” ends up focussed on making spectrum available for the telco sector.
Meanwhile the Green Paper makes no mention of a range of strategic planning and reform processes and initiatives needed to support Australia’s media sector over the next half decade or beyond.
For this eight year Liberal National Government, talking about media reform is evergreen while real, lasting action gets kicked into the long grass.
While Minister Fletcher tries to pull the wool over the eyes of his backbench, Australians miss out on the jobs, services and content that well-crafted and timely media policy and regulation would enable.
FRIDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2020