The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath has applauded the Federal Government for stepping in to help regional media outlets hit by the economic fallout of COVID-19.
A $50 million package announced today will actively work towards safeguarding the future of the Australian media industry, including regional news outlets which are struggling to keep their doors open.
“Our local journalists work incredibly hard to cover the stories that matter to our communities throughout the Eastern Victoria region,” Ms Bath said.
“They are incredibly important conduit that keeps our community connected and well informed.
“They report on everything from sporting, school and community events and help drive local issues to ensure the regional Victorian voice is heard and decision-makers are held to account.
“The power of regional news outlets to be a force for change should never be underestimated.
“It is heartbreaking to see local hardworking journalists who are dedicated to their work lose their jobs and papers wind back production and worse still fold.
“A collapse of regional media outlets serves no one. It threatens to erode the voice of our communities and is detrimental to regional Australia’s ability to advocate for change where it is required.”
Ms Bath said the pandemic had placed businesses in regional and rural towns, including broadcasters and newspapers, under significant financial pressure.
“Regional media outlets have faced a sharp downturn in advertising revenue as a result of COVID-19,” Ms Bath said.
“Over the past few weeks we have sadly seen the collapse of many regional media outlets across the state, with many local journalists losing their jobs or temporarily stood down.
“Now more than ever, regional communities need local journalists as a trusted source of information and to help bring everyone together during such challenging times.
“I wholeheartedly support the Federal Government’s action to ensure regional newsrooms can continue that work,” Ms Bath said.
For more information about the measures announced today, as well as a copy of the Options Paper please visit: www.communications.gov.au/media_package.