25 October 2022
Budget needs to recognise First Nations Media sector’s vital voice
First Nations Media Australia Chair Karen Paterson has welcomed Albanese government’s renewed commitment to provide $88 million over the next four years for the community broadcasting sector in last night’s Budget.

She also commended the government’s investment of $2.5 million over the next 5 years to establish a First Nations Digital Advisory Group to lead consultation with First Nations people on the design and delivery of digital inclusion initiatives.

‘This is an important initiative that will empower First Nations people to exercise sovereignty in the development of accessible, affordable and sustainable information and communication services.

‘It is particularly significant for our remote broadcasting networks, who often struggle with limited, outdated infrastructure to deliver vital messages and services to First Nations people living in to hard-to-reach areas.’

While the Budget promises funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations to increase their capacity to deliver services, Ms Paterson called on the government to recognise the First Nations media services’ role in providing essential services.

‘Budget 2022–23 has been called a “bread and butter” Budget, but the First Nations Media sector has long operated on a “bread and butter” basis,’ Ms Paterson said.

‘Although the Budget commits $83.7 million to restoring savings from the indexation pause applied to the ABC’s operational funding in 2018–19, there is nothing comparable for First Nations media services.

‘The lack of indexation on operational funding for our sector has long been a major barrier for the growth of local First Nations media services and urgently needs to be addressed.

‘Our sector continues to miss out, despite the crucial part it plays communicating with First Nations peoples. In some areas, First Nations broadcasters are the only source of information for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and provide essential messaging about climate emergencies such as the recent floods and COVID-19.

‘Just as the federal government recognises the importance of a First Nations’ Voice to Parliament through funding a referendum on the Voice, we ask that it recognises the vital role of First Nations broadcasters in providing a voice for our people at local and regional levels.’
For further information or media queries contact:

Eleanor Hogan
First Nations Media Australia
2/70 Elder St,
PO Box 2731 Alice Springs NT 0871
08 8952 6465 |

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