The Government has announced a package of measures to help sustain Australian media businesses as they do their vital work of keeping the community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tax relief

Commercial television and radio broadcasters will receive a 100% rebate on their Commercial Broadcasting Tax for 12 months.

The rebate will provide the commercial broadcasting sector with $41 million in tax relief for the use of broadcasting spectrum, backdated to start from 14 February 2020.

The rebate will help offset the sharp downturn in advertising revenue, which has significantly impacted the operating revenues of commercial broadcasters.

Public Interest News Gathering Fund

The $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program will support public interest journalism delivered by commercial television, newspaper, and radio businesses in regional Australia. PING is funded with $13.4 million of new money as well as repurposed unallocated funds from the Government’s Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package (RSPJIP). This implements the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendation in the Digital Platforms Inquiry to enhance the RSPJIP to better support high quality news, particularly in regional and remote Australia.

On 29 June 2020, Minister Fletcher announced that 107 regional publishers and broadcasters who applied under the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Program, were found successful to receive a share of $50 million funding committed to support news services who provide public interest journalism to regional communities.

In accordance with the PING Program Guidelines, successful grantees are listed on the GrantConnect website within 21 days of the date of effect of their grant funding agreements. To view the details of successful grantees , visit GrantConnect at Click on to the Grants Award tab and type ‘PING Grant Program 2020’ in the Keyword section and click the search icon at the bottom.

Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund 2020 Round

In addition to the PING Fund, the Government brought forward the release of $5 million from its Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is being independently administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

On 5 August 2020 the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced the successful grant recipients of the 2020 Round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund.

41 small and regional publishers will share in the $5 million available in the 2020 Round to help them address some of the significant challenges facing the news industry.

Of the 41 successful grant recipients, 16 are from New South Wales, 12 are from Victoria, 6 are from Queensland, 2 are from South Australia, 2 are from the ACT, 2 are from Tasmania and one is from Western Australia.

The ACMA received more than 300 applications for the 2020 Round. The ACMA assessed each application against eligibility and merit criteria and was assisted by an independent advisory committee appointed by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.

In total, the ACMA has awarded more than $17.6 million under the Innovation Fund since 2018.

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