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   21   Broadcasting Services Amendment (Regional Commercial Radio and Other Measures) Bill 2020

The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the bill be now read a second time— And on the amendment moved thereto by Mr Watts, viz.— That all words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

“whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1)        notes the alarming decline in regional media;

(2)        acknowledges that regional commercial television broadcasters’ difficulties in meeting content requirements can be taken as an early warning sign of market failure;

(3)        notes the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has found that:

(a)        between 2008 and 2018, the closure of 106 local and regional newspaper titles across Australia has left 21 local government areas previously covered by these titles without coverage from a single local newspaper (in either print or online formats); and

(b)        the public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS, are not currently resourced to fully compensate for the decline in local reporting previously produced by traditional commercial publishers;

(4)        further notes the Public Interest Journalism Initiative’s Australian Newsroom Mapping Project found that the number of contractions in Australia’s public interest news landscape has grown to over 200 since January 2019; and

(5)        is of the view that this third-term Government has failed regional media by failing to reform the legislative framework and failing to deliver effective direct and indirect support to industry in a timely manner”—

Debate resumed.

Mr Gosling addressing the House—