“We are acting to offer urgent short-term support to the media sector. At the same time we are progressing our December 2019 commitment to consult on the future framework to support Australian stories on our screens.”
Relief from spectrum taxes will provide the radio and television broadcasters with $41 million worth of financial relief, while a $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program will attempt to support journalism regional Australia.
The package included $13.4 million in new funding and the remainder of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Package, which will now be re-purposed.
Mr Fletcher has also suspended Australia drama, children and documentary content obligations until the end of the year.
The government will also release an options paper put together by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and Screen Australia, designed to determine whether content obligations for free-to-air television broadcasters should be applied to global streaming services including Netflix and Disney+. Consultation on the paper will occur over the next eight weeks.
“Regulated free-to-air broadcasters are competing with unregulated digital platforms and video streaming services. It has been evident for some time – and the COVID-19 crisis has made it even more obvious – that this is not sustainable,” Mr Fletcher said.
“We need to re-emerge from COVID-19 with a regulatory framework suited to the twenty-first century that recognises today’s competitive landscape – where television broadcasters compete with streaming services and a myriad of other internet-based businesses – and which positions both the television sector and the content production sector for a sustainable future.”
More to come