Struggling regional TV pressures Abbott for reform
REGIONAL broadcasters are under significant pressure, the Federal Government has conceded, as they ramp up their push for media reforms.
Prime Media, WIN and Southern Cross are launching a campaign pressuring Prime Minister Tony Abbott to rethink his opposition to unwinding the two- thirds ownership rule and reach rules.
Their campaign, on TV, radio and social media, comes as Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher admits broadcasters are doing it tough.
“There is no doubt that the regional broadcasters ... are under significant economic pressure,” Mr Fletcher said yesterday.
All free- to- air television is under pressure, but the regional networks face additional challenges, he said, and acknowledges a number of regional MPs are concerned about the future of broadcasters in their electorates.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in favour of change, recently convened a meeting in Parliament House with some of the industry’s executives and MPs.
Prime Media CEO Ian Audsley said the Government is failing to address the concerns of regional broadcasters.
“Specifically, their capacity to compete in a dynamic and borderless media environment while they remain shackled to legislation introduced in the early OF ALL the athletes across the country, Nathan Johnston might be the most determined.
The 29- year- old is blind in both eyes after being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at age 7 and lost his sight aged 14.
But that has not stopped him from competing in more than 15 triathlons in Australia with his greatest challenge still to come.
Mr Johnston, from Helensburgh in NSW, was awarded a position in the prestigious Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Kona Kailua, Hawaii, in October.
He is joined in each event by his pilot, Glenn Gorick, who never leaves his side thanks to a tether between their arms. 1990s, before the Mr Audsley said.
TV operators have spent significant time trying to tell the Government that the best way to secure the future of regional news is to dramatically reduce licence fees and repeal outdated media ownership rules.
“This will enable the regional operators to organise themselves in the most economically efficient manner,” he said.
“It’s a mateship that we have,” Mr Johnston said.
“We have raced a lot for the last three or four years, he knows what he has to do to get me out of the negative times over the long distances.
“He keeps me talking, drinking something or eating something.”
Mr Gorick is a 30- year veteran of triathlons and competed in the same race in 1990.
He said the conditions are impossible to fully acclimatise to and it will test both of them like never before.
“As you pass the volcano it is plus- 40C ambient air temperature and coming up from the ground it is 45C, you can actually fry eggs on it,” he said.
“It’s the ultimate goal for
existed,” any triathlete in the world, professional or age groupings.”
The event is a 226km race where more than 2000 athletes from around the world will swim for 3.88km, cycle for 180km and run for 42km.
Mr Johnston hopes to inspire other people with or without disabilities to achieve their goals.
“I was very nervous for a couple weeks and training through winter is not going to be fun,” he said.
“But I believe if you put your mind to it you can do anything.”
His goal is to complete the race inside 13 hours but believes finishing before the 17hour cut- off time is enough of an achievement.
MATESHIP: Nathan Johnston and his pilot Glenn Gorick face a gruelling triathlon in Hawaii.