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    Regional television in Australia at a critical point: Free TV

    Free TV has called for a comprehensive four-step plan to place regional television broadcasting on a sustainable long-term footing.

    The industry body says regional Australians are starting to lose access to television services, and that the ongoing availability of local trusted news, local advertising opportunities, and Australian content in regional areas is at stake.

    Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “The Regional Broadcasting Continuity Bill introduced today contains two short-term legislative tweaks in response to the imminent closure of Midura Digital Television (MDT) on 30 June, but long-term structural measures are now urgently needed to ensure the future viability of regional commercial television services in Australia.

    “From 1 July almost 70,000 people in Mildura will no longer be able to access broadcasts from Mildura Digital Television, which delivers Network 10 programming to the region. That means no broadcast access to the Matildas or Socceroos or shows like MasterChef, Australian Survivor or 10 News.

    “This legislation merely allows Mildura viewers the option of installing a satellite dish at their own expense to receive the remote area VAST service to replace their Network 10 services.

    “While this gives Mildura residents an option to replace their lost services, it is not a fair or reasonable solution, new satellite installation can cost upwards of $800. In a cost-of-living crisis this is simply not realistic for many Australians just to access the television services that are available for free to everyone else.

    “Without urgent substantive action by Government, more licence areas are likely to follow. The solutions to keeping the lights on for regional TV are squarely in the hands and control of the Albanese Government.”

    Free TV is calling on the government to amend the Prominence and Anti-Siphoning Bill to ensure that all Australians can watch live and free sport no matter how they get their free TV, and can find their local TV services on their current TV sets without needing to buy a new one.

    See also: Free TV: Millions will miss out on free sport unless laws are updated

    The post Regional television in Australia at a critical point: Free TV appeared first on Mediaweek.

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