Buoyed by support, publishers ask for $20 million in Budget

Feb 23, 2024 at 09:09 am by admin

Australia’s Local & Independent News Association has asked the government to support the industry to the tune of almost $20 million in the next three years.

Executive director Claire Stuchbery visited Canberra earlier this month with chair Alan Sunderland to discuss “policy intervention suggestions” with ministers, MPs and advisors.

“The conversations demonstrated bipartisan support for the work being done by local independent publications to counter misinformation and disinformation, economic barriers to essential information and the increasing concentration of media in Australia,” she said.

In a submission covering the next three years, the group has asked for $1.63 million for programmes and activities led by the group in 2024-25, and a little over $1.5 million for each of the following two years.

Industry-led actions such as workforce development, support for emerging newsrooms and a media literacy programme account for a further $15.05 million across the period – $3.67 million in 2024-25, $5.47 million the following year, and $5.90 million in 2026-27.

Planned initiatives, with funding support, include centralised advertising, bookkeeping and SEO services. Included is support for an ad server platform for collective sales representation to complement local advertising revenue.

It also plans tools and tech to track reader engagement, and also to better inform policy-makers, philanthropic stakeholders and industry.

As part of the productivity commission’s philanthropy inquiry, LINA has made a submission to the draft Future Foundations for Giving report, supporting the expansion of deductible gift recipient (DGR) scope to include public interest journalism.

Claire Stuchbery spoke at the inquiry’s public hearing in Melbourne this week, suggesting a refinement to the proposal in which public interest journalism receives its own sub-category for consistent implementation.

LINA is also preparing a submission to the News Media Assistance Program consultation process, seeking immediate action to support local and independent news publishers. “Our response to the consultation paper outlines the value of community-focussed digital news services, and appropriate mechanisms for government support to strengthen media literacy, engagement in news content and community resilience,” she said.

Pictured (top): Port Douglas-based digital publication Newsport proved its worth when Cyclone Jasper hit the region in December 2023, providing live blog updates and social media feeds including hour-by-hour emergency updates; traffic to the site increased fivefold during the week of the disaster with 158,000 unique visitors to the site; (above) Alan Sunderland and Claire Stuchbery with chair of the standing committee on communications and the arts Brian Mitchell MP and shadow communications minister David Coleman MP.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


or Register to post a comment