Great step forward for regional broadcasting
Friday, 20 October 2017
Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie today welcomed new legislative reforms to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Act introduced in the Senate.
"These are great news for regional areas as they enhance the ABC’s commitment to rural and regional Australia and require its news services to be fair and balanced.
"The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2017 implements reforms that I put forward to enshrine a formal commitment to rural and regional Australia in the ABC’s Charter.
"It also requires the ABC to consult on changes affecting rural and regional audiences, through the establishment of a Regional Advisory Council.
Senator McKenzie said another major issue she was keen to have included in the Bill was that at least two members of the ABC board have a substantial connection to or substantial experience in, a regional area through business, industry or community involvement.
"The Bill also introduces greater transparency by requiring a number of additional particulars to be included in its Annual Report.
"These amendments will ensure the ABC has an even greater focus on, and regard for, the needs of rural and regional communities", Senator McKenzie said.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Fair and Balanced) Bill 2017 will require news and information to be ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’, in addition to the already legislated requirement to be ‘accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism’.
Senator McKenzie said the Bill seeks to legislate what the ABC already expects of itself. The ABC’s own Editorial Policies already cover "fair treatment", as well as requiring ‘a balance that follows the weight of evidence’.
"The amendments will cement the standards expected by Australian taxpayers and I look forward to support from Labor and Crossbench Senator’s interested in a better and fairer deal for people in regional areas from the ABC".