Media reform Green Paper

The Australian Government has today released a Green Paper setting out proposed reforms to support the media industry and enhance the range and quality of services and content available to all Australians.

The Green Paper highlights that the business model of Australia’s free-to-air television businesses is under severe strain – and that this in turn raises public policy issues.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the proposed changes are designed to support the future of Australia’s media and production sectors.

The Government is seeking views on a number of proposed measures outlined in its Media Reform Green Paper, which include:

  • Offering commercial broadcasters the choice to operate under a new kind of commercial television broadcasting licence, with a reduced regulatory burden provided they agree to move at a future point to using less radiofrequency spectrum;
  • Promoting the public interest by using proceeds from freed-up spectrum to invest in Australian news and screen content;
  • Introducing an Australian content spend obligation on video-on-demand services; and
  • Formalising the role of national broadcasters as key providers of Australian content.

The Paper is also an opportunity for industry stakeholders to bring forward their own views and proposals on how they think the regulatory framework should be designed for the contemporary media market.

“The media landscape has changed significantly over the past decade, with faster internet allowing digital technologies to generate significant benefits for industry and consumers. However, these technologies have also fractured business models and rendered many of our regulatory structures obsolete,” Minister Fletcher said.

“With declining revenues, rising costs and an outdated regulatory framework, the capacity of Australia’s media sector to provide Australian programming, local content and public interest journalism is being challenged. These structural pressures have been accelerated by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, reinforcing the need for regulatory action.”

These proposed reforms are in addition to those announced as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget to simplify regulations and inject $53 million into the development and production of local film and television content.

“What we are proposing would rebalance Australia’s media regulations so that the industry can continue to support jobs, connect communities, and keep Australian stories on our screens regardless of whether they prefer to watch free-to-air television, subscription television or video-on-demand services,” Minister Fletcher said.

The Government is seeking public submissions on the Green Paper by 7 March 2021.

To view the Green Paper, and for more information on these proposed changes and how to provide feedback, go to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

Media contact:

Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au