CRA welcomes budget licence fee relief

Staff Writer

CRA has welcomed the announcement in the Federal Budget of a 25 percent reduction in commercial radio licence fees, applicable from the 2015-16 licence period.

Joan Warner, chief executive officer of Commercial Radio Australia, said:

“The cut in licence fees is a welcome relief to Australian radio broadcasters, who operate in one of the most intensively competitive industries in the world.”

 “We are disappointed that the relief is not greater but will enter into discussions with the Minister on further cuts later in 2016 as mentioned in his Budget statement.

“This has been a key issue for the industry for some time. We need to be able to better compete against global players who are largely unregulated and do not carry the many costs, obligations and restrictions that local radio broadcasters do.”

Commercial radio stations paid a total of $24.83 million in broadcasting licence fees in December 2014 for the 2013-14 period.

The Budget papers said the licence fee relief is the result of the Government’s review of broadcast licence fee arrangements, which found that the rapidly changing media market was placing significant financial pressure on commercial broadcasters.

Ms Warner said CRA would also continue to encourage the Government to implement a proposal by the industry for a percentage of further licence fee cuts to be reinvested towards improving commercial radio broadcasting infrastructure and services in regional Australia.

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