Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie says further job and program cuts by ABC management highlights the importance of having a rural and regional voice on the ABC Board.
The Government must bring on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2019 as a matter of urgency to ensure the ABC has a greater understanding of, and regard for, the needs of remote, rural and regional communities.
This is an issue I first raised as a backbencher in 2015 and I’m appalled by the ABC management and board’s latest shock decision to axe the important 7.45am news bulletin – once again showing how out of touch ABC’s city-centric management is with regional, rural and remote Australia.
For the ABC to just blithely say consumers are all live streaming and getting their news over the internet disregards the reality of living in rural and regional Australia.
So many people out in the regions can’t live stream radio, can’t live stream ABC News on TV because they don’t have that level of connectivity, or might need to prioritise their data usage for kids homework for instance.
The ABC has chosen to axe something that is so important to the way we in the regions start our day and connect with the news of the world.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2019 is an important step forward in securing rural and regional access and representation in the ABC.
It requires the ABC to consult on changes affecting rural and regional audiences, through the establishment of a Regional Advisory Council.
As a public broadcaster, the ABC should provide quality regional services and venture into territory that does not solely rely on ratings.
The ABC is a much-loved institution across regional Australia and in times of natural disaster we really see how crucial a role the ABC plays in our communities.
This bill recognises that in many rural and regional areas the ABC is the only media service to provide emergency service notification, community engagement, news and weather.