It’s Budget Time 2014, and the results are in for community broadcasters. The budget handed down reveals no federal funding cuts for community broadcasters in this financial year. This means the community radio sector can likely operate at the same funding levels as previously.
This means community radio services you know and love are likely to continue unaffected.
However, it would be my guess that this latest funding scare will prompt many within the sector to explore alternative funding options such as directly from listeners and grants via other non-government avenues.
Community Broadcasting government funding is outlined in the Communications Portfolio Budget Statements [PDF]. It shows figures for the “Community Broadcasting Program” on page 24. It puts the 2013-14 funding at $18,356,000, 2014-15 funding at $17,700,000 and the 2015-16 forward estimate at $17,522,000.
This shows a small decrease over the upcoming years. Funding for this will be affected by the Administered Programme Indexation Pause. The Government will achieve savings of $165.0 million over four years through pausing the indexation of 112 administered programmes.
Community Radio has been very lucky. The ABC will see funding cut by $120m over the next four years. There is also the termination of the $220 million contract to deliver the international broadcasting service, Australia Network.
The National Commission of Audit handed down in May recommended scrapping all grants programs to community broadcasters. This included all grants administered via the Community Broadcasting Foundation, such as those for sector-wide projects including Digital Radio, AMRAP, CRN, and station-level grants.
The CBAA relaunched the Commit to Community Radio campaign to encourage listeners to voice their concerns to Ministers Hockey and Turnbull. Over 52,000 people signed up, although this appears to include the 40,000+ from the Digital Radio funding campaign in early 2013.
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