Four publishers across Mallee have been awarded a total of $360,328 to support the sustainability of the local publishing activities, including news gathering, production and distribution. These publishers are; Mildura weekly, Warracknabeal Herald, Buloke Times and the Sunraysia Daily.
These four region publishers are among 62 small and regional publishers across Australia to share in around $9 million of funding under the Morrison Government’s Regional Grant Opportunity program to support local journalism.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher, said in the digital age the sector is facing profound and continuing change and the funding will help regional publishers invest for the future.
“The Morrison Government recognises the challenges facing regional publishers and local newspapers as they reshape their business models to deal with the digital landscape and put themselves on more sustainable footings for the future,” Minister Fletcher said.
“These grants provide regional our publishers with the opportunity to invest in new technologies to support news gathering skills development and digital initiatives.”
Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster congratulated The Mildura Weekly, Warracknabeal Herald, Buloke Times and the Sunraysia Daily, and said the funding will provide a much welcomed boost in journalism and news gathering for the region.
“The Mildura Weekly, Warracknabeal Herald, Buloke Times and the Sunraysia Daily have demonstrated solid business cases to increase publishing activities for our region, with the grant providing much needed funding for increased digital solutions and services across Mallee. This comes at a time when people are increasingly relying on digital platforms for news and relying on increased connectivity to do business.” Dr Webster said.
The Regional Grant Opportunity program is overseen by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which received 113 applications for the grants.
The full list of recipients is available on ACMA’s website at: www.acma.gov.au/innovationfund.
Each application was assessed according to three merit criteria: public interest journalism; editorial policy and complaints handling process; and the quality of the business case. Of the 62 grant recipients, 25 will be funded in full and 37 will be part funded.
24 recipients are located in Victoria, 18 in New South Wales, 12 in Queensland, three in Tasmania, two in South Australia, and one each in Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
The Regional Grant Opportunity is part of the $60.4 million Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package delivered as part of the Government’s 2017 media sector reforms. The Government has also committed $43.7 million over three years for the ABC to continue with the enhanced news measures in regional and rural areas, and supporting local news and current affairs.