Australian communications, music, regional media and cultural institutions will receive a $393.7 million boost in the 2019-20 Federal Budget.

3 April 2019

The Government has announced the 2019-20 Federal Budget, focusing on strengthening communications in regional Australia, supporting the national broadcasters, improving online safety, reforming complaints handling for telco consumers, and investing in music and Australia’s cultural institutions.

People in regional and remote areas will benefit from a $220 million Regional Connectivity Package, which will help ensure Australians living outside the major cities can stay reliably connected. The investment is part of the Government’s response to the Regional Telecommunications Review and will include $160 million for 2 new rounds of the Mobile Black Spot Program and $60 million for a new Regional Connectivity Grants Program.

The national broadcasters will receive more than $4 billion over the next 3 years to keep delivering services to the community, including $3.2 billion for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and $887 million for the Special Broadcasting Service. This funding will ensure the national broadcasters continue to deliver quality local news and valuable multicultural content.

The Government is also supporting the delivery of online safety education and training projects for children through the $10 million Online Safety Grants Program and promoting Australia’s voice in the Pacific by providing $17.1 million to deliver 1,000 hours of Australian television content each year to broadcasters in the Pacific.

The Government will direct $7.2 million over 4 years to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to take on oversight of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) Scheme. This will increase transparency about complaint handling and consumers’ issues with telecommunications services are resolved quickly and effectively.

The Budget also includes $72.4 million to fund a number of measures to support our creative sector, including $30.9 million in new funding to strengthen Australia’s music industry, $22 million for the Bundanon Trust to deliver its Masterplan development and $10 million over 4 years to establish the National Library of Australia’s Digitisation Fund. An additional $8 million will also be provided for maintenance and capital works projects at Australia’s national collecting institutions, and $1.5 million to support tourism in Tasmania through the installation of a major light show.

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