Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Funding boost to support our public broadcasters
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today announced a range of measures to support Australia’s public broadcasters.
The Government will provide an additional $158.1 million over five years to the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS) to ensure it remains a vibrant and dynamic broadcaster and to launch a new indigenous free-to-air television channel.
The measure is part of the Gillard Government’s 2012-13 Budget, which aims to build on our strong record of economic management and efforts to promote equality and fairness throughout the community.
“In an increasingly multicultural society, the Australian Government recognises SBS as one of Australia’s most important institutions,” Senator Conroy said.
“This represents the most significant funding boost SBS has ever had, and will ensure SBS can continue to provide a unique broadcasting service that includes comprehensive television, radio and online services,” Senator Conroy said.
“Like other broadcasters, SBS operates in a rapidly changing broadcasting landscape, which is being affected by the introduction of digital multi-channels, new digital platforms, and changing audience expectations.”
“This additional funding will allow SBS to address its immediate financial pressures, adapt to the changing media environment and build or upgrade its technology capabilities.”
The independent production sector will also benefit from this funding boost as SBS continues to work with Australia’s creative industries to commission, produce, and acquire innovative, high quality, and unique programming.”
SBS will also establish a free-to-air national Indigenous television channel in the second half of 2012, available through the full reach of SBS’s terrestrial network and on the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service.
Senator Conroy said he was pleased that the National Indigenous Television (NITV) service has worked with SBS to ensure this new channel could be established.
“The creation of a truly national free-to-air Indigenous television service, built on the foundations of the existing NITV service, will greatly expand the availability of Indigenous broadcast content for all Australians,” Senator Conroy said.
ABC Radio and VAST
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will receive new funding to ensure that an estimated 10 million Australians in regional, rural and remote areas have access to improved ABC radio services.
ABC radio listeners outside major metropolitan coverage areas currently rely on signals sourced from the Optus Aurora satellite, which will finish after analog television services cease at the end of 2013.
This new funding will ensure the transition of radio services to the Government-funded Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) satellite platform on completion of the switchover to digital only television across Australia. The VAST service will then become the source for the ABC terrestrial radio services.
“This new funding will ensure that millions of Australians retain access to critically important ABC radio services that they rely on for news, current affairs, sport and entertainment,” Senator Conroy said.
“Users of VAST “direct-to-home” satellite receivers will also benefit because VAST will carry the ABC’s digital-only radio channels Dig, ABC Country, ABC Jazz, ABC Grandstand and triple J unearthed.”
VAST will also carry the Tasmania Local Radio service for the first time, as well as enable an additional local radio service to be transmitted terrestrially in regional Queensland.
Date: 8 May 2012
Contact: Adam Sims 0408 258 457