The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has condemned a move by the Andrews Labor Government which will suck a significant slice of revenue out of the pockets of regional newspapers.
The Nationals are strenuously opposing the Regulatory Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2021, which will allow more than 400 requirements in Victoria to potentially be published online on a central government website rather than in the print media as currently required.
Ms Kealy said the move was a deliberate attack by Labor on the viability of regional media.
“This decision will further weaken the ability of regional communities to have a voice and particularly affect residents who do not have regular internet access including many of our senior citizens – these people will be robbed of a vital communication tool connecting them to their communities,” Ms Kealy said.
“The Nationals and Liberals will be doing everything we can to stop this Bill in the Upper House to defend the future of our regional print media.
“For this government to say the choice to print in newspapers will remain as a discretionary option is a joke and Regulatory Minister Danny Pearson knows it.”
Ms Kealy said that under the Bill, the Minister will also have discretionary powers to declare new websites as ‘approved’ publications.
“That’s another joke – this government is taking blatant steps to further destabilise regional media without any understanding of its importance to our local communities,” she said.
“The more advertising government pulls out of regional media, the more it weakens the very fabric of regional life.
“The regional print media has an important role to play in our local communities and this government is doing its best to squash it through this complex bill which once again puts more control in the hands of Daniel Andrews Inc.”