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New legislation to secure on-air future for community TV 

The Australian Community Television Alliance (ACTA) welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment today to the future of community TV on free-to-air broadcasting.

With the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Community Television) Bill 2024, introduced by the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications, the Australian Government aims to ensure that C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne and Geelong will stay on-air for the foreseeable future.

The Bill will repeal previous legislation, under which both stations’ broadcasting licences were due to expire on 30 June this year. Both stations would continue broadcasting until an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they use has been confirmed.

“This Bill is a significant stride towards ensuring the continued existence and vibrancy of community TV,” said ACTA president and C31 Melbourne and Geelong general manager Shane Dunlop. “The community TV sector has suffered incredibly since 2014, due to the uncertainty caused by repeated short-term renewals to stations’ broadcasting licenses. Today’s legislation is a great validation of the resilience shown by C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne on behalf of their communities, and of the unique role played by community TV in the Australian media landscape as a platform and pathway for diverse voices and emerging media talent.”

Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications, said in a statement: “Community television is a vibrant part of Australia’s media landscape – adding to media diversity, providing local news and content, supporting local businesses and serving as a platform for the next generation of industry talent.

“These changes will ensure Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide can continue to provide these valuable services until there is an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they occupy.”

ACTA is very appreciative of the support from Minister Rowland and her colleagues across the political spectrum and we have been encouraged by the commitments made in recent years that have helped to pave the way for greater stability for the community TV sector. 

ACTA is a body representing community TV broadcasters C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne.