MEDIA RELEASE - Modernising Australian media laws
1 March 2016
The Turnbull Government has today
announced the most significant reforms to our media laws in a generation,
supporting the viability of our local organisations as they face increasing
competition in a rapidly changing digital landscape.
This week, the Government will
introduce legislation into the Parliament and refer the package as a whole to a
Senate inquiry so that the media reforms can be examined in detail.
The reforms will result in major
changes to the regulations governing the control and ownership of Australia’s
traditional media outlets and the provision of local television content in
The Government’s media reform package
includes repealing media ownership and control rules that currently prevent:
· a person from controlling commercial
television licences that collectively reach more than 75 per cent of the
Australian population (the ‘reach rule’);
· a person from controlling more than
two of the three regulated forms of media (commercial radio, commercial television
and associated newspapers) in the one commercial radio licence area (the ‘2 out
of 3 rule’).
The Government is maintaining other
diversity rules including the ‘5/4’ rule, the ‘one-to-a-market’ rule and the
‘two-to-a-market’ rule. Changes to the anti-siphoning list are not part of this
The Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission will retain its powers to scrutinise mergers and
acquisitions and will be asked to update its media merger guidance accordingly.
These reforms are needed because technology is changing the way we access
In the digital era, these regulations
unfairly restrict Australian-based broadcast or publishing companies from
optimising the scale and scope of their operations and from accessing
resources, capital and management expertise available to other media operators.
Domestic media operators must have the
flexibility to compete and adapt in the changing media landscape. These
proposed changes to the media control rules will allow businesses to configure
themselves in a way that best suits their needs ensuring they can continue to
play a significant role in the Australian community.
Strengthening local television content
in regional Australia
As part of these reforms, the Government
will establish stronger local content obligations for regional commercial
These new obligations would apply to
the majority of regional free-to-air commercial television broadcasters who, as
a result of a change in control known as a ‘trigger event’, become part of a
group of commercial broadcasting licences whose combined licence area
populations collectively exceed 75 per cent of the Australian population.
This ensures there is local content in
nearly all regional areas following a trigger event, including those where
there is none currently. This package also introduces an incentive for local
news to be filmed in the local area. The Australian Communications and Media
Authority will monitor and enforce these local content obligations.
These proposed measures will commence
in 2016, subject to the passage of amending legislation.
These reforms represent a sensible and
pragmatic approach to rebalancing the regulatory settings governing the
traditional media in Australia, while maintaining a framework that continues to
support media diversity, global competition and local content.
More information on the Government’s
proposed media reforms can be found at mediareform.communications.gov.au