The decision by the ABC announced yesterday to offer transitional services in relation to its shortwave radio service to regional and remote residents of the Northern Territory is too little too late.
Following calls by the Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, the ABC has reconsidered its decision and has belatedly decided to fund some small infrastructure to support emergency support groups to contact communities and will assist NT residents to transition to alternative technologies.
“While these measures are welcomed, they provide little comfort for the many residents of the Territory who have relied on shortwave radio for emergency support and communication in remote areas,” Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said.
“Despite attempts by Territory Labor members Senator McCarthy and Mr Snowdon to play politics with the issue, the decision to cut shortwave radio services was entirely a matter for the ABC. I call on Senator McCarthy and Mr Snowdon to work with me and the Government on this important issue.
“While I welcome the transitional arrangements, I still call on the ABC to reconsider its decision and continue this vital service for the Territory.
“Government funding was locked in for the ABC for three years in last year’s budget and there was no need for the ABC to make this decision with no notice or community consultation.
“I also encourage the ABC to reconsider how it works with the Territory community and ensure it has better consultation practices before any future changes to the services it is funded by the Commonwealth to deliver.
“The Country Liberals will continue to fight for the best services for Territorians.”