Next week’s federal budget is “expected to slash the $153 million in annual licence fees” for free to air networks, according to a media report.
The Australian suggests networks will be getting good news in Tuesday’s budget, with a reduction (but not abolition) of the 4.5 per cent of their revenue they currently pay.
A spokesman for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said: “The government has indicated that it will examine the issue of licence fees in the context of the budget. The government does not comment on speculation in relation to what may be decided in the budget.”
Seven CEO Tim Worner recently told a Senate hearing “We’re paying licence fees that are far in excess of any other jurisdiction in the world. Governments in other jurisdictions have moved some years ago to address this.
“We’ve shown already with the last lot of licence fee reductions that more than 100 per cent of it will go back into the production of local content. We will see hundreds if not thousands of new jobs created because of the amount of local production that we can undertake,” he said.
“We simply cannot now. We have things that are parked waiting at an amber light. We just do not have the money to fund them.”
Nine and TEN management will front a Senate hearing committee today on media reforms.
Plans for media reform will stall if Malcolm Turnbull calls a July 2 election, but would resume if the Coalition was returned.