Joint media release with Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie
Territorians are being encouraged to urgently provide submissions to a Senate inquiry into the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) service delivery to rural and regional Australia.
This follows the national broadcaster’s decision to terminate shortwave radio transmission in the NT from today – a decision taken without consultation in the Territory and without sufficient regard to the effects on Territorians.
Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said the ABC’s decision would have a significant impact on remote and Indigenous NT communities.
“Shortwave radio transmission is an essential service – especially in times of emergencies such as cyclones and floods – for people in rural and remote areas of the Territory,” Senator Scullion said.
“This is a really poor decision by the ABC Board which is supposed to ensure the broadcaster provides services – such as the shortwave radio service – not provided by other organisations.
“There is still time for the Sydney-based city-centric ABC to do the right thing by Territorians and reverse this decision.”
The Nationals’ Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, who introduced the Australian Broadcasting Amendment (Rural and Regional Advocacy) Bill 2015 into the Senate in September 2015, said she was alarmed by the lack of consultation undertaken by the ABC in deciding to terminate shortwave radio.
“The ABC is continuing to neglect rural and regional service provision and, like Senator Scullion, I am deeply concerned that this will decision will have a severe impact on Territorians, and in particular the Territory’s remote and isolated communities,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The intent of the Bill is to ensure that as the public broadcaster, the ABC considers the needs and interests of rural and regional Australians when making decisions regarding its operations,” she said.
“In order to ensure that the ABC is focused on delivering a high level of broadcast service to rural, regional and remote Australia, the Bill recommends changes to the ABC’s Charter and the way in which the ABC is staffed and managed, and aims to ensure that the ABC consults appropriate with rural and regional Australians.
“It’s time for Labor’s federal Territory representatives, Senator McCarthy and Mr Snowdon, to make their position clear in relation to this Bill and publicly support it.
“I urge all Territorians affected by the ABC’s decision to end shortwave radio transmission to write to the Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications and make their concerns heard loud and clear.”
The Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications can be contacted on (02) 6277 3526 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.