McIvor Times

Regional journos yesterday’s news under Labor

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Local MP and deputy Nationals leader Steph Ryan has urged the Andrews Labor Government to reverse its decision to exclude country newspaper publishers for COVID-19 support. Speaking in Parliament last week, Ms Ryan said country newspapers were not eligible to apply for business support because the Andrews Government had excluded them from its narrow eligibilit­y criteria.

“Local news organisati­ons have been smashed by COVID. While country journalist­s continue their tireless work to report on the news that matters to our communitie­s, advertisin­g revenues have declined dramatical­ly,” Ms Ryan said.

“This is putting newsrooms under even greater pressure, eroding the already slim margins of the print media.

“Last year, the state government committed to at least one page of advertisin­g in all local newspapers each week.

“When that commitment expired, many local papers found themselves with less government advertisin­g revenue coming in and they were not eligible for any business support grants. ³6RPH UHJLRQDO QHZV RXWOHWV KDYH KDG WR VWDQG GRZQ VWD൵ DQG RWKHUV IRUFHG WR IROG

“Meanwhile, the government continues to pour millions upon millions of dollars into self-promotion in the city.

“Country newspapers cannot apply for any business support because the Andrews Labor Government has excluded them from its narrow eligibilit­y criteria.”

Ms Ryan said support for regional newsrooms was more important now than ever, in a time where COVID-19 and vaccinatio­n misinforma­tion is rampant online.

“Our local journalist­s are trusted, credible sources of informatio­n, relied on by our communitie­s in times of uncertaint­y,” Ms Ryan said.

“Our local newspapers have done an outstandin­g job, providing rolling coverage on local COVID outbreaks.

“Given the enormous pressure facing country journalist­s, I am calling on the government to immediatel­y reverse their decision and expand country newspapers.”

COVID-19 business support to include

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