Federal Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Communications Mark Coulton is urging news publishers in his electorate to throw their hat in the ring for essential funding to support their operations as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Mr Coulton said the Coalition Government is backing public interest journalism with the $5 million Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund 2020 Round now open for applications.
The 2020 Round of the program – administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – has been fast-tracked to assist regional news publishers with the significant challenges they face in the current media landscape.
“Print media outlets in my electorate have taken a hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Coulton said.
“They are suffering serious financial pressure with the pandemic slashing their advertising revenue and, in many cases, drastically increasing their overheads.
“This program will help these outlets to sustain the essential work they do in delivering information to local communities at this critical time.
“It will support costs associated with public interest news gathering, which can include staff training, new digital technology and website upgrades.
“Often these media outlets are one of few news sources for my constituents. As we continue to practise social isolation, it’s more important than ever that we can continue to stay connected to our communities through our local media.”
Mr Coulton said a total of $5 million is available with a maximum of $400,000 per applicant.
“The criteria has also been broadened so more organisations are eligible to apply for grants to get this money to where it is needed as quickly as possible,” he said.
The ACMA will assess each application for the 2020 Round in accordance with the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund: 2020 Grant Opportunity Guidelines, working closely with an Independent Advisory Committee.
Applications are now open for a four-week period closing on 22 May 2020, with successful applicants expected to be announced in July 2020. For more information and details on how to apply visit: www.acma.gov.au/innovationfund
- The Innovation Fund is part of the Government’s Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package (RSPJIP) announced in the 2017 media reform package.
- The Government has released $5 million of the Innovation Fund so that money is available as quickly as possible to help publishers keep journalists in jobs and local communities informed.
- All the information needed to apply, including the application form and the Grant Opportunity Guidelines, is published on the Government Grant Portal, www.grants.gov.au (search GO ID: GO3940).
- The 2020 Round is separate to the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program recently announced by the Government.
- For more information visit: www.communications.gov.au/media_package