Labor commits to keeping community radio

Staff Writer

The CBAA has welcomed the Labor Party’s commitment to reinstating funding for digital community radio if elected.

The Keep The Community In Your Radio campaign has been calling for a commitment to the future of community radio on the digital spectrum, with the immediate restoration of funding to cover transmission costs. The month-long campaign has driven almost 30,000 petition signatures so far, and will include a National Day of Action on Friday, 3 June.

The Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare joined Federal Member for Sydney and Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek and Federal Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese to deliver the news at FBi Radio’s studios in Sydney.

“Today, we’re announcing that if Labor is elected on 2 July, we’ll reverse the cuts that Malcolm Turnbull has made to digital community radio services. We understand how important community radio is, you’ve got about 5 million people right across the country listening to more than 440 community radio services every week.”

Member for Grandler, Anthony Albanese said:

“If you talk about a dumb Government act, this is it. This station survives on the sniff of an oily rag, survives on the basis of the people that give up their time for nothing. The least you can expect is the Government to do its bit.”

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) Chief Executive Officer Jon Bisset welcomed Labor’s support, and urged the Coalition Government to match the commitment.

“25% of radio listeners in five capital cities are listening on digital radio. If this funding isn’t restored, people will find that buying a new DAB+ radio means no longer being able to receive your community radio station. Over five million Australians tune in to community radio each week.”

“It is very encouraging that the Labor Party has recognised how critical it is to maintain community radio’s significant contribution to media diversity and local content on digital radio, both where digital radio is currently available and as it rolls out to regional Australia. Labor’s commitment is a huge step in this campaign – it’s set to be a close election and we need the Coalition Government to match Labor’s commitment, ensuring the future of community radio.”

“We have our national day of action tomorrow, and we look forward to Australians from all walks of life raising their voices for community radio.”

The ALP has committed to maintaining ongoing targeted funding for community digital radio at least at the 2015/16 level of $3.686m per annum, addressing the $1.4m shortfall in the current budget. The funding would ensure the continued availability of a diverse range of community digital radio services across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.


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