After years of enduring a hostile Communications Minister, the ABC now has a champion in cabinet.
Michelle Rowland, the Western Sydney MP who was once a senior telecommunications lawyer, managed to hold on to her shadow opposition portfolio, and has been sworn in as the new Minster of Communications.
The new minister has also time as chair of Screen NSW.
Under the new government, the communications portfolio has been separated from the urban infrastructure, cities and arts portfolios, as had been administrated by the Morrison government minister Paul Fletcher.
Michelle Rowland will now be in charge of overseeing Labor’s promised move to five-year, rather than the existing three-year, ABC funding agreements (which will hopefully help to depoliticise the arrangement).
Labor has also promised to restore an $85m budget cut to the public broadcaster.
And Michelle Rowland is also a long-term supporter of ABC Friends.
You can watch her address to our key 2022 election rally by playing this video:
The CEO of Commercial Radio Australia, Ford Ennals, congratulated the new minister on her role:
This is an excellent appointment. Minister Rowland has deep media expertise and the radio industry welcomes her stated commitment to bringing Australia’s media laws into the digital age.
The Labor Government has also promised to deliver a $29 million local news and community broadcasting transition package to help regional, local and community media providers.
The package promises to:
- Provide a $15 million fund for eligible regional and local newspaper publishers to help absorb newsprint price increases.
- Provide $12 million to maintain community broadcasting funding and give the sector the funding certainty it needs beyond the next year.
- Keep Community TV stations Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide on air until there is an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they use.
- Develop a News Media Assistance Program to secure the evidence base needed to inform news media policy intervention in Australia and formulate measures to support public interest journalism and media diversity.