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PM’s promise to help regional newspapers with printing costs

A re-elected coalition government would provide support for regional newspapers to assist with rising costs of print production driven by global pressures.

May 09, 2022, updated May 09, 2022
Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

A new $10 million round under the Morrison Government’s public interest news gathering program would allow eligible publishers to apply for funding in the face of newsprint prices rising by up to 80 per cent.

In the second leaders’ debate on Channel Nine on Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spruiked his government’s track record of handling the economy.
“It’s a choice between a government that has a strong economic plan…now is not the time to risk things on the unknown,” Morrison said.

“Labor have no plan.”

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government’s public interest news gathering program was a tried and tested model that had provided support for regional newspapers and broadcaster during the pandemic.

“Ongoing volatility overseas is having an impact back home,” he said.

“We will move urgently to deliver this new round following the election, working closely with the sector, with payments expected to be made from July 1 when newsprint prices are due to increase.”

Funding will be contingent on no newspaper closures or job losses due to increased newsprint prices.

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In addition, the government has promised to undertake further work following the election on the long-term sustainability of the sector.

Up to $2 million has also been promised to fast-track an investment ready analysis for the replacement of the coal-fired boiler at Norske Skog’s Boyer Mill, Australia’s only producer of publication grade paper.

The analysis is part of a larger investment in partnership with the Tasmanian government and Norske Skog to help secure a long-term future for the mill, located north of Hobart.

“Our regional newspaper publishers employ thousands of people in regional Australia and regional manufacturers like Norske Skog employ many more,” Regional Communications Minister Bridget McKenzie said.

“Locally printed newspapers are so important for our regional communities because they tell local stories that will never be covered by the bigger publishers.”

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