This week Federal Labor has announced that if elected to Government next year it will provide $2 million in funding for the ABC, specifically to bring back shortwave radio services across some of Australia’s most remote areas.
The announcement was made in Alice Springs by Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Stephen Jones and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Warren Snowdon.
In its announcement, Labor recognised the significant communications and connectivity challenges that communities living in remote areas already face, and the compounding affect that the ABC’s controversial decision to switch of its shortwave services in January 2017 had. It said that the loss of access to ABC services via shortwave radio cut Australians off from emergency broadcasts and connectivity with the rest of Australia.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion was critical of the ABC’s decision in 2017 saying, “Shortwave radio transmission is an essential service, especially in times of emergencies such as cyclones and floods, for people in rural and remote areas of the Territory. This is a really poor decision by the ABC Board which is supposed to ensure the broadcaster provides services, such as the shortwave radio service, not provided by other organisations.”
Labor’s announcement was received positively by the community.
“Many thousands will benefit,” the Federal Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said on Monday after the announcement.
Tecsun Radios Australia founder Garry Cratt said, “We welcome Labor’s commitment to reconnect domestic shortwave for all Australians. Remote communities rely on shortwave and we must recognise that what many take for granted is a true luxury in remote areas.”
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