Albanese Government backs community broadcasting

The Albanese Government is delivering on its commitment to provide vital support to the community broadcasting sector.

Community broadcasting services operate at the heart of local communities, with staff and volunteers working to deliver local news, tell local stories, and provide a platform for diverse voices and Australian music that is essential to a well-informed and inclusive society. 

In recognition of the importance of community broadcasting across Australia, the Government has this week:

  • committed funding in the Federal Budget; 
  • commenced a review into the sustainability of the sector; and 
  • introduced legislative amendments to provide greater regulatory clarity.

The Budget 2022-23 includes an additional $4 million per year of ongoing funding for the Community Broadcasting Program from 2023-24, taking total annual funding for the program to over $20 million per year.

To assist with the process of identifying opportunities to improve the sector’s sustainability, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts has commenced a review in consultation with the sector. This will:

  • Canvas stakeholder views and ideas;
  • Consider priorities in an evolving media landscape;
  • Identify support for First Nations broadcasting; 
  • Examine opportunities to increase the sector’s sustainability; and
  • Consider the evaluation of the Community Broadcasting Program. 

The Broadcasting Services (Community Radio) Amendment Bill 2022 contains a number of legislative amendments to Parts 3, 6 and 6A of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, which will provide greater regulatory clarity for community radio broadcasters, certainty and quality programming for listeners. 

The amendments will also streamline the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s licensing processes.

The Government’s commitments provide community broadcasting with the certainty it needs to keep delivering for their communities, and recognises the importance of the sector which has been strongly demonstrated in recent years during natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“The Albanese Government recognises the crucial role that the community broadcasting sector plays in connecting, informing and empowering local communities, particularly in our regions, and among multicultural and First Nations communities.

“The Albanese Government is committed to working with the sector to provide greater certainty, streamline regulatory settings and improve the sector’s sustainability into the future”.

Quote attributable to Jo Curtin, CEO, Community Broadcasting Foundation:

“We’re looking forward to working together with the Minister to support a thriving and sustainable future for community broadcasting, amplifying its impact in communities across the country.”

Quote attributable to Jon Bisset, CEO, Community Broadcasting Association of Australia:

“We are an important and growing sector that plays a critical role by providing local information, independent news and by enriching the nation’s cultural fabric.”