Mr COULTON (Parkes—Chief Nationals Whip) (13:45): I’d like to bring to the attention of the House the shocking decision by Southern Cross Austereo to remove the Spencer Gulf nightly news program. Obviously Spencer Gulf is in South Australia and the Parkes electorate is in New South Wales, but it was the only TV news that was going into Broken Hill. Broken Hill is the second-largest town in the Parkes electorate. It runs on central time. It’s right on the South Australian border. Without any warning, the staff were notified with one day’s notice that the programs would be ceased, the journalist in Broken Hill was laid off, and now Broken Hill has no nightly news program that’s relevant to that community.
Broken Hill is a community with a strong cultural past. It’s the home of BHP. It has a strong background as the home, largely, of the union movement in New South Wales, and it is now having a resurgence with cobalt and magnetite. It’s been discovered by tourists during the pandemic. We’ve got the Mundi Mundi Bash, where 16,000 people at a time come to the far west.
This decision is so short sighted and shows so little respect to the people of far western New South Wales that they’re outraged. It follows on from some of the decisions made by the corporate newspaper owners that have withdrawn their services from regional Australia, and we’ve been left swinging.