small business | September 13, 2021

Regional journos yesterday’s news under Labor

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is urging the Andrews Labor Government to reverse its decision to exclude country newspaper publishers from COVID-19 support.

Country newspapers are not eligible to apply for business support because the Andrews Government has excluded them from its narrow eligibility criteria.

Ms Kealy said local news organisations have been smashed by COVID.

“While country journalists continue their tireless work to report on the news that matters to our communities, advertising revenues have declined dramatically,” Ms Kealy said.

“This is putting newsrooms under even greater pressure, eroding the already slim margins of the print media.

“Last year, the state government committed to at least one page of advertising in all local newspapers each week.

“When that commitment expired, many local papers found themselves with less government advertising revenue coming in and they were not eligible for any business support grants.

“Some regional news outlets have had to stand down staff and others have been forced to fold.

“Meanwhile, the government continues to pour millions upon millions of dollars into self-promotion in the city.

“Country newspapers cannot apply for any business support because the Andrews Labor Government has excluded them from its narrow eligibility criteria.”

Ms Kealy said support for regional newsrooms was more important now than ever, in a time where COVID-19 and vaccination misinformation is rampant online.

“Our local journalists are trusted, credible sources of information, relied on by our communities in times of uncertainty,” Ms Kealy said.

“Our local newspapers have done an outstanding job, providing rolling coverage on local COVID outbreaks. 

“Given the enormous pressure facing country journalists, I am calling on the government to immediately reverse their decision and expand COVID-19 business support to include country newspapers.”

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