Strug­gling re­gional TV pres­sures Ab­bott for re­form

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

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.

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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

in­ter­net

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.

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