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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 2890

Mr FLETCHER (Bradfield—Minister for Urban Infrastructure) (12:38): I would like to thank the members who have contributed to this debate on the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Television and Radio Licence Fees) Bill 2016. This bill will give effect to a 25 per cent reduction in the licence fees payable by commercial television and radio broadcasters that was included in the 2016-17 budget. This fee reduction recognises that the Australian media market has changed significantly since licensees were first introduced in the mid-1950s, with the move to online and on-demand content fragmenting the market for media services, and increasing competition.

I encourage all members to consider the measures in this bill as a priority as they relate to fees payable by the broadcasters by 31 December this year. These fees represent a significant burden on commercial broadcasters at a time when they face increasing competition from new media operators who pay no licence fees. These fee cuts will reduce the regulatory burden on Australian commercial broadcasters and allow them to compete on a more level playing field. They will also help regional commercial broadcasters to continue to serve their local communities effectively. Delays in considering this legislation would only serve to exacerbate the financial difficulties already being experienced by the traditional radio and television broadcasters. I call on all members to support the bill.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.