Media Release published by The Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell
The State Government has committed to an advertising spend in regional areas following unanimous support for a motion by Independent MP Troy Bell.
Mr Bell raised the motion, which recognised the importance of independent media platforms to South Australia’s regional areas, in State Parliament last week.
“The importance of print media to regional areas cannot be underestimated,” he said.
“Newspapers are not only a journal of record but a regular source of accurate and balanced news and information in the public interest. For many people, newspapers are still their primary news source.”
Mr Bell said he had been prompted to raise the issue after recent legislation aimed to cut state and local government requirements to publish public notices and information in newspapers, instead publishing solely on websites.
“This is often referred to as ‘modernising community engagement’ but in fact leaves people in the dark about important government information that may affect them and their lives,” he said.
“I cannot remember the last time I looked at a local government website, whereas, thousands of people are still reading newspapers each week. It makes sense to publish important information where the people already are.”
Mr Bell said the motion was inspired by an economic support measure over the border.
“At the start of the pandemic, the Victorian Government supported regional newspapers by committing a portion of their communications budget to be allocated to regional print media and they have recently extended this contract,” he said.
“This action demonstrates an understanding of regional people and how newspapers continue to be a vital source of information for rural audiences.
“Like any other industry impacted by the pandemic, regional print deserves economic support measures to ensure its longevity.
“A regional newspaper supports far more than just journalists and sales staff. It has a trickle-down effect to delivery drivers, fuel companies, newsagents and many more.”