The Stawell Times News | Andrew Broad, MP | 22 September 2015
As the Member for Mallee, I met with the chief executive officer of WIN, Andrew Lancaster and Prime’s chairman, John Hartigan and General Counsel, Emma McDonald, where the provision for local content and rules controlling media ownership were the focus for discussion.
I have always said that regional media plays a vital role in our communities and I have committed to advocating for local content to be preserved.
During the meeting I also sought assurances that the introduction of High Definition television will not negatively impact the reach of digital reception in rural areas.
This meeting was another step in the process of ensuring quality media services in our region and I believe the outcome of the discussion is promising.
Prime and WIN are part of the drive behind the ‘Save Our Voices’ campaign, which is lobbying the Government to have the 75% Reach Rule removed, along with the Two out of Three Rule, which currently prevents a media company from owning three media platforms in one market.
The Save Our Voices group argue that having these rules removed would enable media companies to achieve improved economies of scale, which would then assist in the delivery of local content to rural and regional areas.
The changing landscape of the media, particularly over the last ten years, with the introduction of online platforms, has placed increasing pressure on the viability of broadcasters.
This has recently seen the closure of WIN in Mildura, which was a ‘devastating blow’ for the community.
I told Prime and WIN that my support for the amendment of the rules was contingent upon the Mildura broadcast region being included in the local content legislation.
Currently the Mildura region has no protection under this legislation, meaning broadcasters are not required to provide regionally specific content.
I maintained my stance that a region with a population of over 50,000 should be allocated minimum levels of local content and all parties were receptive to this view.
Mayor of Mildura Rural City Council, Cr Glenn Milne, was also present at the meeting and has also offered his full support to the Save Our Voices argument.
View the article on the Stawell Times News.