TRANSCRIPT - Doorstop with Sophie Mirabella
Albury Wodonga Community College
28 October 2015
E & OE
NBN, mobile blackspots, media reform
Well it’s great to be with Sophie
Mirabella, and local mayors to discuss telecommunications issues, in
particular to talk about the rollout of the National Broadband Network,
which will be just such a great boost for regional areas. But also to talk
about the Mobile Phone Blackspot Programme, which Sophie was a key
advocate for, and one of the prime movers to see that program introduced. This
will see 30 mobile phone blackspot locations addressed in the electorate, and
again that’s good news for communications in the area, good news for business,
and good news for individuals as they go about their daily lives.
Minister can I ask for your reaction to the news that WIN
TV will close its Ballarat studio and move to Wollongong to reduce
Well look I’ve seen media reports, I haven’t had
confirmed what WIN's plans are. But what has been coming to me in the four
weeks that I have been the minister for communications is that Australia’s
media laws were configured for a pre-digital era.
Regional TV operators in particular are keen for those media laws to
be reviewed so that they can have the opportunity to construct their businesses
in a way that will make them sustainable for the long term.
WIN has already
closed Mildura and Mackay, would you concede that these media laws are
becoming more urgent.
we’re in an environment now where it's technology and individuals and their
choices about how they access media that are in effect rendering
a lot of the media laws redundant. And over time that will become more the
case. So what I’m doing as the Minister for Communications is meeting with
the key stakeholders and getting their views, and to see if we can find a
consensus about media law reform. We may not get unanimity, but it’s good to
work towards consensus.
it be fair to say that support within your government is building scrapping
this reach rule now that 7 and 9 are streaming over the internet and making
this legislation redundant.
my parliamentary colleagues and lots of my regional colleagues are strongly urging
that there be a serious review of the media laws and that’s the purpose of my
consultations with stakeholders, which is to look to see what we can do to
make our media laws reflect the world we currently live in.
your personal stance on media reforms
don’t think you want a Communications Minister to make a unilateral
declaration about media law reform. This is something to be worked through
carefully with stakeholders and to be worked through with my parliamentary
colleagues as well. I haven’t put a time frame on that, but it would be fair to
say that this isn’t an area where I want to see the grass grow.
are voicing concerns about media reforms, is this a priority for the government?
one of the things on the top of my agenda is to review the area of media law.
We want to make sure that we have a diverse media environment. But to have a
diverse media environment, you have to have viable media businesses.
And the best way that you can ensure viable media businesses is to give the
organisations the freedom to conduct their businesses the way they
think is best.
think, Senator, that streaming could force the Government to act sooner rather
streaming is another example of the fact that people are accessing media in
news ways. That traditional media operators are being challenged by new media
entrants, but also traditional media operators themselves are looking for new
ways to connect with consumers. So all of these developments help to underline
the fact that the media laws are becoming increasingly irrelevant.
of time frame are we looking at for legislation to be introduced? Before
hasn’t made any decisions in relation to legislation at the moment.
Propositions have to be approved by cabinets and party rooms, and as
I say, we want to see if we can reach a broad consensus in the media
industry. But as I say, this isn’t an area where I want to let the
government hasn’t made any decisions as yet.
just regarding recommendations put forward last week with the regional
telecommunications review, with your visit today after speaking to other
members here, is it looking like there are any particular recommendations
that you think need to be put in place that you’ll be pushing for .
Well it’s a good
that thing that we have legislated that every three years that there is a
review of regional telecommunications. The report is a good one. As a
government we need to respond by February next year, which we will be doing. So
I wouldn’t want to pre-empt the Government's response to that. But it’s a good
body of work.
so what would the aim be to get out of today’s visit? Issues with
telecommunications in our area is well documented so what is it you hope to get
out of today’s visit?
we’ve had the first round of the mobile phone blackspot
program, which came about in large measure due to the
advocacy of Sophie Mirabella. We do have a second round of the mobile
phone blackspot programs and I want to hear from councils and other community
organisations their feedback as to what went well the first round, what might
need tweaking for the second round and also to talk to people about the NBN.
I just ask one more question about the time frame? Sorry to push you on this,
you said that this is not an issue that you want to let the grass grow; can you
be a little more specific? Are we talking next year, early next year
for media reform laws?
haven’t put a timeframe on media law reform, that will be a
function of the discussion that I have with stakeholders and my colleagues.
great to have Mitch meet with local mayors and CEOs to get direct feedback
from locals about the further change we need and investment in
mobile phone blackspots and how the NBN is rolling out. And I know
that he will take that local feedback into the decision making into Canberra.
So the talk today will be turning into action locally for the people
the topic of telecommunications, is that going to be a key part of your
campaign coming up to the election?
always has been, it always has been right back from the Howard government
days that disappeared under the previous government that’s re-emerged. In past
bushfires I have been there advocating for temporary towers to deal with
emergency situations and it has always been on the radar, and it’s always been
something because of our geography and the challenges it presents, that we have
needed to focus on different solutions to cover the areas like our electorate
here in Indi.
Justine Sywak | 0448
448 487 | Justine.Sywak@communications.gov.au