Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Page: 49

Media Industry


Senator COLBECK (Tasmania) (14:33): My question is to the Minister for Communications, Senator Fifield. Can the minister inform the Senate as to how the government is supporting jobs and investment in the media industry, particularly for small and regional publishers, including in my home state of Tasmania?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:33): I thank Senator Colbeck for the question, and I recognise his strong support for media organisations in Tasmania. I'm pleased to advise colleagues that today the government has announced that applications are open for programs under the government's $60 million Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package. The centrepiece of the package is $50 million for the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. I acknowledge the input into this policy of Centre Alliance colleagues.

We know that the media environment is challenging and is rapidly evolving, and this has presented challenges for all media organisations, but particularly for small publishers in regional areas. With this new fund, smaller publishers in Tasmania and right around Australia will have an opportunity to seek funding for projects to assist them to transform their business models, become more efficient and have a greater chance of success in the modern media environment. Local communities, we know, value having good, local content and local news. Having a strong, healthy and diverse media sector is one of the critical underpinnings of our democracy. That's why as a government we've delivered comprehensive and historic reforms to our media laws and why we've established this package of funding to assist smaller publishers.

Mr President, for the benefit of yourself and colleagues, more information on the fund and details on how to apply are now available on the website of the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Applications for the first round of funding close on 27 July. This is good news for Tasmanian publishers and indeed for small and regional publishers around Australia.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Colbeck, a supplementary question.



Senator COLBECK (Tasmania) (14:35): Can the minister inform the Senate as to how the government is supporting young people in the regions to pursue a career in journalism?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:35): The government is also pleased to be opening applications today under our Regional and Small Publishers Cadetship Program and the Regional Journalism Scholarships program. Over two years we'll be funding 200 cadetships and 60 scholarships to give young people, particularly in regional areas, a better opportunity to pursue a career in journalism. Funding of up to $40,000 per cadet is available to support media organisations to give young journalists a start in their careers. Scholarships worth $40,000 each will be made available in partnership with universities to give prospective students in regional areas a better opportunity to gain a journalism qualification. Young aspiring journalists in Tasmania and right across Australia will be the beneficiaries of these enhanced opportunities, thanks to the funding for this program.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Colbeck, a final supplementary question.



Senator COLBECK (Tasmania) (14:36): Is the minister aware of any threats to support for regional and small publishers?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaMinister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:36): I am aware of threats to this support. When legislation to establish the new fund was before the Senate, Labor and Greens colleagues sought to legislate eligibility criteria that would have made local outposts of large foreign media organisations eligible for this fund. That would have meant that small Australian regional publishers in places like Tasmania would have missed out.

The other threat to Australian media organisations is Mr Shorten and his captain's call to increase taxes on thousands of businesses. So the message is clear: if you value your local publishers and support jobs in the media industry, vote for your local coalition candidate if the opportunity presents itself in the near future. Colleagues opposite stand for higher taxes and less support for local Australian media. (Time expired)