Save Australian Community Television
Save Australian Community Television
Community broadcasting is the lifeblood of local news and stories across Australia, but with mandates from the last two federal governments, community television broadcasters have slowly been shutdown and phased out. Only two remain in Australia today, Channel 31 in Melbourne, and Chanel 44 in Adelaide.
Television Sydney was shutdown in 2015, and 31 Digital in Brisbane followed suit in 2017. 31 Digital reached over 750,000 people throughout south east Queensland during its broadcasts.
In September 2014, the then federal government announced that licensing for community television stations would end in December 2015. Television Sydney ceased as a result, but 31 Digital persisted. From then, short term licensing extensions of 6 months to 1 year intervals were granted to 31 Digital. At 11:59pm on 28 February 2017, 31 Digital was forced to cease broadcasting on television due to an announcement by the government that its licence would end in June 2017.
In 2022, the newly established QLD Community Television Association Inc., with support from the Australian Community Television Alliance is asking that the federal government give community television a fair go, by allowing aspirants in vacant markets to gain community broadcasting licenses to resume free-to-air digital television services in local municipalities, and backing existing community television broadcasters with 5 year licences.
For emerging film and television makers in local areas that have lost broadcasting rights, such as Brisbane, Perth, or Sydney, community television is essential. It provides an avenue for local creators to showcase their work and build credibility in a highly competitive industry.
"It's a shame 31 Digital went off the air, it was a great opportunity for local artists / filmmakers to collaborate, share content and gain first-hand experience in studio broadcasting! It definitely helped me mould a path and a sense of direction", André Scholz.
For audiences, community television is their connection to local news and stories. Stories that are made by local community members, for local community members.
"I learnt to paint thanks to Briz31 and Ken Harris", Anthony Proctor.
For big industry, community television is important in ensuring that it has a sustainable pool of talented, skilful people to tap into with its bigger budget productions. It is through community television that the emerging crew of today become the craftsmen of tomorrow.
For local business owners, community television provides a vital platform for them to offer their goods and services to locals; goods that can be bought down the street or minutes away at their local store. Following COVID-19 lock-downs, national and international border closures, and recent floods in Queensland and NSW, it has become clear that as a community, we need to buy locally to help reduce our carbon footprint. Community television helps us achieve this by connecting local businesses with local audiences.
On 23 June 2021, both houses of parliament passed the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 1) Bill 2021 to add new sections 96A and 96B to the Radiocommunications Act 1992, which (a) only grants existing community television broadcasters with an extension until June 2024, after which community television broadcasters lose their right to broadcast free-to-air, and (b) prevents any new community television broadcasting licences from being issued where one does not exist on 30 June 2021. This means, those stations that have lost their licences cannot get them back.
This could mark the end of community television in Australia.
We need community television, and right now, it needs us to fight for its existence. Sign this petition to urge our politicians to amend legislation to extend licences for existing community television broadcasters beyond 2024, and allow the granting of new licences to community broadcasters in areas that have lost their broadcasting licences.
Please sign the petition to help us make change happen.