Australia’s 2021 federal budget has included a welcome AUD$15 million in government funding for the national news service AAP, along with giving it Deductible Gift Recipient status.
“In the context of AAP’s exclusion from the Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, this grant will help underpin the AAP newswire on its path to sustainability. The AAP newswire is an essential part of our democratic infrastructure. Supporting the national newswire means supporting the industry as a whole,” AAP CEO Emma Cowdroy said.
Paul Murphy, Chief Executive of industry union MEAA said the measures would go some way towards ensuring the future of AAP, which was almost forced to close in 2020.
“AAP performs an essential service by providing balanced, independent and trusted news from all over Australia to dozens of outlets large and small,” Mr Murphy said. “Having fought so hard for the survival of AAP, it would have been devastating if it ran out of funds again. We commend the federal government and the MPs who took up the AAP cause for providing some financial certainty over the next two years with this new funding of $15 million.”
MEAA said an extra $8 million for the community radio sector is welcome, but the Budget has not clarified future funding for the ABC and SBS.
“Overall, funding of public broadcasters will fall in real terms with nothing to replace the massive cuts since 2013,” Mr Murphy said. “The expected cessation of the regional and local news gathering funding is short-sighted and will hurt those communities it is meant to help.”