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Greens win more funding for community radio, but job far from over

The Australian Greens have welcomed an improvement in federal funding to community broadcasting and urged the Government to go much further.

Greens communication spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said the much-loved community broadcasting sector had made a compelling case for a boost in federal funds in the lead up to the budget but were offered a fraction of what is needed.

"They asked for a $25 million increase in the first year - that's for content, infrastructure, coordination and training to help more than 430 community radio and TV stations stay on the air," said Senator Ludlam. "Instead, the Government has included an additional $12.5 million over four years - $3.125 million a year."

Senator Ludlam said the Australian Greens had fought hard to improve funding to community broadcasting.

"An additional $12.5 million over four years is certainly a welcome improvement on previous funding levels, but the bar was very low in the first place," said Senator Ludlam.

"There's $376.5 million in this year's budget for the change to digital broadcasts, including set-boxes for senior Australians, but community broadcasting - which includes a significant number of stations specifically catering to senior audiences - has been allocated an increase of less than one percent of that in 2011/12."

"Community radio and television not only provides a wonderful service to senior citizens, it also provides alternative news and views and opportunities for independent musicians and artists to get air time and for young broadcasters to learn the trade. It's a vital sector and it deserves better."

The Australian Indigenous Communications Association, Australian Community Television Alliance, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Community Broadcasting Foundation, Christian Media Alliance, National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters Council and RPH Australia requested $25 million in additional annual federal funding in a March 2010 submission to the Federal Government.



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