Xenophon cash fund finally open to applications

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$48 million in cash pledged as part of the deal to get media law reform through the Australian parliament is finally up for grabs.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has announced that small and regional publishers can now apply for the grant scheme to help support journalism.

The Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund allows companies with an annual turnover of less than $30 million to apply for grants of up to $1 million. The total funds for the scheme will be made available over three years.

Fifield said the grants would help eligible publishers develop new business models and practices to stay competitive. "We need to sustain quality journalism in our regions to ensure all Australians can access quality local news that is relevant to them," he said.

"The media industry is undergoing a huge transition period and regional and small publishers are feeling the pressure from new and emerging digital platforms. These grants will help relieve that pressure by providing extra funding to help them explore new options and remain competitive."

To be eligible for the scheme, publishers must use the funds to produce public interest journalism to benefit Australians. A residency excludes publishers - such as The Guardian and Daily Mail Australia - not centrally managed in Australia.

The Innovation Fund was a key bargaining tool of the Nick Xenophon Team (now Centre Alliance), under which it agreed Coalition reforms if provisions were made for the sustainability of regional publishing. Applications close on July 27, 2018.

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