Statement on AFL media rights

I note reports AFL media rights negotiations have entered their final stages.

The anti-siphoning scheme under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 enables the Minister to encourage the free availability of certain types of programs, including the AFL, by listing events which in the opinion of the Minister should be available free to the general public.

Free-to-air television is universally available and accessible, and it is an important source of information, education and entertainment for all Australians, regardless of their means or location.

The broadcasting of key sports competitions like the AFL Premiership helps to create shared experiences, foster a collective Australian identity, and contributes to grassroots community-based sports participation.

All Australians should have the chance to enjoy iconic sporting events live and free, rather than those events being behind paywalls. In the context of rising cost of living pressures, where too many citizens still don’t have reliable broadband, access to stable and ubiquitous free-to-air television is important.

The Albanese Government is committed to reviewing the anti-siphoning scheme to give all Australians the chance to enjoy live and free events of national and cultural significance. The review will be conducted in a consultative manner. A discussion paper will be released in the coming weeks to provide all relevant stakeholders, including media and sports, with the opportunity to share their views. They will all be well-heard.

To that end, I encourage the AFL Commission and its broadcast and streaming partners to ensure there is no diminution in the availability of AFL matches on free-to-air television under the new deal.