Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s 2021 Federal Budget handed down on 11 May provided an additional $8 million over two years to the community media sector.
This maintains a critical base level of sector funding at $20.15 million in 2021/22 and $20.37 in 2022/23 – a substantial increase on the Government’s forward estimates which had anticipated annual funding to drop to $16 million (see our Explainer: Federal Budget and community media).
The Budget recognises the invaluable role our sector plays providing vital information and stories not covered elsewhere – this was particularly highlighted last year during the 2019/20 bushfires and the sector’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Importantly, funding provided to the community media sector ensures there is continued support both for community broadcasters in stations and sector-wide infrastructure, training and technical projects.
The sector’s bid for additional funding was helped enormously by the advocacy of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, First Nations Media Australia and the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council.
While the increased funding provided in the Australian Government’s Budget is much appreciated, we support calls for an additional $5 million to enhance the sector’s impact.