The Government has announced a package of measures to help sustain Australian media businesses as they do their vital work of keeping the community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tax relief

Commercial television and radio broadcasters will receive a 100% rebate on their Commercial Broadcasting Tax for 12 months.

The rebate will provide the commercial broadcasting sector with $41 million in tax relief for the use of broadcasting spectrum, backdated to start from 14 February 2020.

The rebate will help offset the sharp downturn in advertising revenue, which has significantly impacted the operating revenues of commercial broadcasters.

More information on the Commercial Broadcasting (Tax) (Transmitter Licence Tax Rebate) Rules 2020 is available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Investing in regional journalism

The Government recognises that public interest journalism is essential to informing local communities, particularly in relation to national and global events such as COVID-19.

Public Interest News Gathering Fund

The $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program will support public interest journalism delivered by commercial television, newspaper, and radio businesses in regional Australia. PING is funded with $13.4 million of new money as well as repurposed unallocated funds from the Government's Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation Package (RSPJIP). This implements the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's recommendation in the Digital Platforms Inquiry to enhance the RSPJIP to better support high quality news, particularly in regional and remote Australia.

For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund 2020 Round

In addition to the PING Fund, the Government has brought forward the release of $5 million from its Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is being independently administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Applications for the 2020 Round are open for a four-week period from 24 April 2020 to 22 May 2020. The application and processing timeframes are shorter than previous rounds to help business deliver public interest journalism to the community.

The 2020 Round is open to regional and metropolitan publishers and content service providers producing public interest journalism.

A total of $5 million is available for the 2020 Round, with a maximum of $400,000 for any applicant.

More information is available on the ACMA's website and our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Short-term red tape relief

In recognition of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on production of Australian screen content, the Government is suspending Australian programming obligations for the remainder of 2020. The suspended obligations are:

  • Australian drama, Australian documentary and Children's and Preschool program obligations on commercial television broadcasting licensees until the end of 2020.
  • The licence condition requiring minimum levels of expenditure by subscription television broadcasting licensees on new eligible drama programs until the end of 2020.

The Government may extend this suspension beyond 2020 if required.

There will be no change to the requirement for broadcasters to meet an overall 55% Australian content obligation.

For more information see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Harmonising regulation—have your say

The Government has released for public comment an options paper co-authored by the ACMA and Screen Australia. This options paper will guide the Government's work to determine the future extent of Australian content on free-to-air television broadcasters, and whether obligations should apply to streaming services. This work is critical to the future of the culturally and economically important Australian film and television production sector.

We welcome submissions from all interested stakeholders through our have your say page. Submissions close on 12 June 2020.

The Government will also work with the industry over the next two months to further explore the ongoing issues facing the media and screen production sectors.

Further initiatives and advice

The Australian Government has announced a series of response packages to support businesses and individual incomes.

Information for individuals

Information for businesses and employees

A COVID-19 Business Liaison Unit has been established with the hotline 13 28 46, which operates seven days a week, from 7am to 11pm (AEST). You can also email the team.

You can also download fact sheets with detailed information about Australian Government support for businesses to manage cash flow and retain employees on The Treasury's website.

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