Regional newspaper advertising requirement should remain

Wednesday September 18, 2019

Published by Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell MP

Independent MP Troy Bell has spoken out against a Bill which will remove the need for government agencies to advertise public notices in local newspapers.

The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Simplify) Bill, currently before State Parliament, seeks to modernise and simplify 40 acts and for 27 of these, change the advertising requirements of government agencies. 

If passed, the amendments remove the requirement for Government departments to publish public notices in local newspapers. 

The Member for Mount Gambier said he took the stance because he believed the action would lead to a “disconnect” between the government and regional communities.

“Like all South Australians, regional people need to know relevant information that is occurring in their communities,” Mr Bell said.

“Only publishing notices online, whether it be road closures or prescribed burns, is not guaranteed to reach everyone. A joint approach utilising both newspapers and online platforms will reach considerably more people.”

Mr Bell said print media is an integral part of communities across the state.

“In many regional communities, newspapers are still the preferred public forum. I don’t believe people are visiting the PIRSA website, for example, on a regular basis merely to check if something is happening. 

“Should the Bill pass in its current form, there’s the potential for matters of public relevance to slip under the radar and this is not good governance.”

Mr Bell said any loss of income for newspapers could result in job losses and impact on coverage. 

“Part of our job as MPs is to change legislation and keep it up-to-date with modern times but it’s also our responsibility to stand up and speak out on behalf of people and businesses impacted by changes.”