Five television broadcasters will receive a share of $20 million in funding to support regional news services in 2020-21.
107 regional publishers and broadcasters will benefit from a Public Interest News Gathering Program of $50m total funding.
Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said, “These are unprecedented circumstances in regional media – with COVID-19 triggering catastrophic drops in advertising revenue leading to many newspapers suspending operations and threatening the sustainability of regional broadcasters.
“The Morrison Government is responding to these exceptional circumstances with this specific and time-limited support measure, designed to assist the continued provision of quality news and information to communities across regional and remote Australia.”
Southern Cross Austereo CEO and Managing Director, Grant Blackley, said, “Regional communities and businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. As Australia’s largest regional media business, SCA is no exception. This funding will assist SCA‘s network of radio and television stations continue to keep 8.8m Australians and their local communities in regional and remote Australia informed about news and events that matter most to them.”
In March & April Southern Cross confirmed pay cuts and staff stand-downs.
Minister Fletcher said the majority of the publishers receiving grants under this program operate small‑to‑medium businesses.
“Successful applicants will put these funds to good use to support a broad range of activities such as staff wages, training and technology upgrades that will allow them to keep delivering news that local communities need and want,” he said.
Grants are also conditional on publishers of suspended mastheads returning them to operation and recommencing print distribution.
Funds will flow from July.