17 August 2017
Constructive discussions with Senate colleagues to secure the passage of the Media Reform package continue.
The package has the unanimous support of the Australian media industry.
Negotiations with the NXT have been productive and conducted in good faith. NXT Senators understand the pressures facing Australian media and share the Government’s desire to secure reform.
The Government has reached in-principle agreement with the NXT on four measures.
· ACCC inquiry: Treasurer to direct the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into the impact of the new digital environment on media.
· Enhanced local content in smaller regional markets: Increase the post-trigger event points requirements in smaller (i.e. non-aggregated) regional television markets.
· Community Television: A further extension for community television licensees. The Government will also hold a roundtable discussion with the sector to discuss its future.
· Review of Asia Pacific broadcasting services: Review into the reach of Australian broadcasting services in the Asia Pacific region.
The Government has also indicated its willingness over a longer term to work closely with the NXT to develop further policy measures to ensure that local journalism remains vibrant in our communities.
Local, independent, quality journalism is under severe pressure due to fragmenting markets, increasing competition and the shift of advertising dollars to digital platforms. The Government shares the NXT’s concerns about the consequences of these factors for quality independent local journalism.
The Government does not believe it is appropriate for tax subsidies to benefit foreign multinational media organisations. Above all, government intervention in commercial media can only be contemplated when the implications for freedom of speech and freedom of the press are fully understood. The Government considers that any policy interventions in this space deserve careful consideration and extensive public debate.