Thursday, 22 June 2017
I, and on behalf of Senators Ludlam, Xenophon and Lambie, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) more than five million Australians listen to community radio in an average week,
(ii) the community radio audience comes from a diverse range of backgrounds and maintains a diverse range of interests,
(iii) community radio listeners are disproportionately more likely to identify as Indigenous, religious, LGBTIQ, from a culturally or linguistically-diverse background, or as living with a disability,
(iv) these interests are not adequately served by commercial radio, and
(v) the diverse range of voices that contribute to community radio are even more critical in a commercial environment, where diversity is impacted by increasingly consolidated media ownership structures; and
(b) calls on the Australian Government to:
(i) increase funding targeted for community digital radio, taking the Commonwealth contribution to $4.5 million per annum in 2018-19, and
(ii) commit to funding community radio at that level, indexed, on an ongoing basis.
The government provides over $15 million in funding each year to support community radio, including base funding for digital radio of $2.28 million per annum. In this year's budget we provided $6.1 million of additional funding for community radio over two years, including $3.9 million over two years in additional funding for digital radio. We are always happy to examine propositions from colleagues to support media diversity.
Labor strongly supports the value of community radio to our nation and we have engaged with the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia in determining our position on this motion. I ask that the question be divided under standing order 84(3) so that the opposition can vote differently on parts (a) and (b) of the motion. Recognising the contribution of community radio to the diversity of our media environment and the service it provides to so many people around Australia, the opposition will be supporting part (a). As a party of government, Labor is unable to support making a future funding commitment through a motion in the Senate and will be opposing part (b). The opposition proposed an alternative form of words to call on the Australian government to adequately fund community digital radio that we could have supported and that would have been satisfactory to the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, but we accept Senator Hinch's decision to proceed with the motion currently before the Senate.
It is my intention to split the motion, as requested, into parts (a) and (b). I will put part (a) first. The question is that part (a) of motion No. 387 be agreed to.
Question agreed to.
I will now move to part (b). The question now is that part (b) of motion No. 387 be agreed to.
Question agreed to.