Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, wants ABC management to reverse its decision to drastically change its news delivery on ABC Local radio. The demise of structured local news bulletins at 8.30am, 10.30am, 12.30am and 5.30pm will seriously disadvantage regional Australia.
“This is extremely disappointing for ABC Local radio listeners. We rely on the ABC for our local news, particularly in emergencies, and farming families listen in the late afternoon for a summary of the day,” Ms McGowan said.
“The ABC is a valued and trusted source of news and information, particularly in regional Australia. Communities have a great sense of connection to their local ABC radio station.”
Ms McGowan has written to the Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield, calling for the Government to take action for the rights of people in regional Australia.
Last month in Canberra, Ms McGowan hosted The Australia Institute launch of the Heartland – The bush loves its ABC report. The report showed evidence that the ABC may be failing to fulfil its governing charter to provide adequate services to regional Australia.
The conclusions also highlighted the exceptionally high support for increasing funding to the ABC to improve regional coverage.
“It’s crucial the ABC has the necessary resources to cover local news, issues and programs, particularly during times of disaster,” Ms McGowan said.
“I call on the Government to continue working closely with the ABC, and provide the funding that is necessary for the ABC to deliver the coverage people in rural and regional Australia expect.”