Regional media ‘frustrated and disappointed’ over media reform inertia

Regional broadcasters now have to wait until at least May before the Bill returns to the Senate

Regional broadcasters WIN Network, Southern Cross Austereo and Prime Media Group released a statement on Friday noting they are frustrated and disappointed by the apparent inertia that is plaguing the passing of the Media Reform Bill in the Senate.

The statement said:

Delay means that regional broadcasters now have to wait until at least May before the Bill returns to the Senate.

The Media Reform Bill was first introduced on March 1 2016, and reintroduced on September 1 2016 after the Federal election in July. At the time, Minister Fifield said “it is time for action”, and yet there has been little to no action to progress this much overdue reform.

John Hartigan

John Hartigan, Chairman of Prime Media, said:

“Over 12 months ago I congratulated the Prime Minister and Minister Fifield for having the fortitude to follow through. It is disappointing to see that, contrary to my expectations, nothing has materialised – and we are witnessing yet another missed opportunity.”

Grant Blackley, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo, said:

“I am frustrated that we are still waiting for any meaningful media reform, despite the rules under which we operate are from the pre-internet and pre-pay television era and are well past their use-by date. It’s time to bring on the debate in the Senate and for the Parliament to pass it.”

Grant Blackley

Andrew Lancaster, CEO of WIN Corporation, said:

“We have been telling parliamentarians for years that the ‘75% reach rule’ makes no sense when news, information and entertainment services are being delivered via a diverse range of technologies and from a plethora of sources, rendering it and the ‘two out of three rule’ blunt instruments.”

Andrew Lancaster

Ian Audsley, CEO of Prime Media, said:

“The time for action was years ago. We need the Government to bring an end to the lingering uncertainty. We need meaningful reform that supports regional jobs and the sustainability of a viable regional media sector in this country.”

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