Channel 44 / Adcsa Inspiring Sa Women

Bill passes to keep community TV on-air

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 passing today of the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Community Television) Bill 2024, introduced by the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications, C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne and Geelong will stay on-air for the foreseeable future.

“The Albanese Government recognises that community television services Channel 31 Melbourne and Channel 44 Adelaide provide an important platform for local news and content and local businesses and [they are] a training ground for talent,” said Minister Rowland. “We want the engaging, informative programs these services create to be accessible for their communities to enjoy over terrestrial broadcast.”

The Bill repeals previous legislation, under which both stations’ broadcasting licences were due to expire on 30 June this year. Now, both stations will continue broadcasting until an alternative use for the radiofrequency spectrum they use has been confirmed by statutory body the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“Today punctuates the culmination of a long and uncertain journey for community TV,” said Shane Dunlop, President of ACTA and General Manager of C31 Melbourne and Geelong. “After enduring a tumultuous period of detrimental federal policy, the bi-partisan support seen for the CTV Bill signifies a landmark moment in the journey to secure community TV services in Melbourne and Adelaide. The sector has weathered significant challenges since 2014 and this result not only acknowledges the unwavering resilience demonstrated by C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne in representing their communities but also underscores the indispensable role of community TV in the Australian media landscape. As we embrace this milestone, we look forward to embarking on the next steps toward revitalising and fortifying community TV as a vital platform and conduit for diverse voices and burgeoning media talent.”

“What a monumental day for community TV,” said Lauren Hillman, General Manager of C44 Adelaide. “The passing of the CTV Bill is a historical and pivotal moment. Continued free-to-air broadcasting is a significant step towards the stability and certainty so desperately needed by the community TV sector after a decade-long fight for survival. This bill shows that the Australian Government recognises the vital role played by community TV in not only serving local communities but in the broader media landscape, too, as a platform for cultural diversity and inclusivity, and as a training ground for emerging creators.

“We know community TV is loved by thousands of Australians and we want to thank everyone for their tireless support in campaigning over many years to preserve our important and independent home of local content and local stories.”

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. 


Senator Marielle Smith, Senator for SA, said: “My community loves community television. There is so much to value in this bill. This bill is about giving transparency and security in the future of community television. I know it means a hell of a lot to the people who work in community television, to volunteers within community television, to people in Adelaide and Melbourne who watch community television and love community television.”

Steve Georganas MP, Member for Adelaide, said: “[C44 Adelaide and C31 Melbourne] play an important role in our community and we want to make sure that they are viable and they continue to service the very diverse community that they serve. Community TV plays a vital, important role in the diverse migrant community, and I saw it first hand in my electorate and I still see it.”

James Stevens MP, Member for Sturt, said: “The service that they [Channel 44] provide is very important and it’s community-led, it’s volunteer-led. They obviously work very hard to finance and fund the service that they provide. There’s a lot of volunteerism associated with what they do and of course a lot of people learn great skills and get excellent early opportunities in the sector as well.

“I’ve got the South Australian Film Corporation in my electorate [too] and we in South Australia are very proud of our history more broadly in broadcasting, in film and in screen, and the sorts of both on-camera and technical expertise needed to produce broadcast-quality product like Channel 44 are also very important skills that are supported in that broader ecosystem in South Australia.” 

Kate Thwaites MP, Member for Jagajaga, said: “My first role on TV when I was studying to become a television journalist was on Channel 31. For me it was an invaluable experience, being able to have that real-life experience of having your story go on to community television. I know there are many more famous people than me who have had their start on Channel 31, and it is really important that we continue to give people that training ground that community TV provides.”

Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP, Member for Higgins, said: “Young people use community television as a means to hone their skills and spread their wings often to other arenas with a much bigger stage, like commercial TV, either in Australia or internationally.”

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