For years the Howard Government failed to provide any clear transition path for community television to digital platforms, so it is with someone irony we learn today that a Coalition Government would allocate $10m towards what it neglected to pledge for years.
As the Rudd Government maintains an uncertain future for community television, the Australian Community Television Alliance has welcomed the belated support in its campaign to a digital spectrum.
So far the government has only indicated community stations “will not be left behind” as Australians switch to digital by the end of 2013. ACTA was let down by the federal budget, which avoided the issue entirely.
In welcoming the news from the Opposition, ACTA noted that the sector’s current plight is the result of the previous Government’s failure to provide a pathway to digital for Community TV when it was in office.
“Community Television is targeted at audiences that are under-served by the other free-to-air channels. The sector provides access for special interest groups, multicultural communities and social networks that are not well catered for by the mainstream media,” ACTA Secretary, Laurie Patton (pictured) said.
“Community TV is a unique source of local programming in an era when more and more of what we see on television comes from overseas”.
“Community Television also acts as an incubator for new talent and new program concepts.”
It’s hard not to see this as much more than political point-scoring for everybody involved, but what should we expect when the current government avoids an answer?