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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2839


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:43): The bill that we have before us is intended to be a simple amendment to give legislative authority to ACMA to independently administer the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. We have set down a number of eligibility criteria. They are outlined in the explanatory memorandum to the bill but aren't proposed to be legislated. It is normal practice for guidelines and eligibility criteria to sit outside legislation.

The other point I would make is that if the grant criteria were to be legislated it would mean that the government wouldn't be able to make minor tweaks to the criteria in a straightforward fashion—based on feedback from industry—in light of the administration of the fund, which is something that I think would be helpful.

The final point I'll make is that the Greens amendment does clear the way for outposts of large foreign media outlets to be eligible for funding, and that would mean less funding available for Australian publishers.