Keeping local news on air and in print vital: Ryan
15 April 2020
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has applauded the Federal Government for stepping in to help regional media outlets hit by the economic fallout of COVID-19.
A $50 million package announced today will help safeguard the future of the Australian media industry, including regional news outlets which are struggling to keep their doors open.
“Our local journalists work incredibly hard to cover the stories that matter to our communities,” Ms Ryan said.
“They report on everything from sporting, school and community events and help drive local issues to ensure the community’s voice is heard and decision-makers are held to account.
“The power of regional news outlets to be a force for change should never be underestimated.
“It is heartbreaking to see hardworking journalists who are dedicated to their work lose their jobs and papers fold.
“A collapse of regional media outlets serves no one. It threatens to erode the voice of our communities and is detrimental to regional Australia’s ability to advocate for change where it is required.”
Ms Ryan said the pandemic had placed businesses in regional and rural towns, including broadcasters and newspapers, under significant financial pressure.
“Regional media outlets have faced a sharp downturn in advertising revenue as a result of COVID-19,” Ms Ryan said.
“Over the past few weeks we have sadly seen the collapse of many regional media outlets across the state, including Mildura’s Sunraysia Daily and the Swan Hill Guardian.
“The McPherson Media Group, which prints local publications including Benalla Ensign, Country News, Seymour Telegraph, The McIvor Times, Shepparton News and Campaspe News have also had to lay off staff.
“Now more than ever, communities need local journalists as a trusted source of information.
“I wholeheartedly support the Federal Government’s swift action to ensure regional newsrooms can continue that work,” Ms Ryan said.
For more information about the measures announced today, as well as a copy of the Options Paper please visit: www.communications.gov.au/media_package.