MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
It is disappointing that the uncertainty and delay around the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code will continue into 2021.
While Labor welcomes the introduction of the Code to Parliament today, the Government’s repeated assertions that it would implement the scheme this year have proved false.
From the outset, we have offered constructive, in-principle support for a workable code to help Australian media companies realise fair remuneration for their content from digital platforms such as Google and Facebook.
It’s good that the Government has listened toLabor’s calls to extend the Code to include the ABC and SBS, as the revenue could help boost regional news services.
But the Australian media industry was in crisis and exposed before COVID-19 and, despite citing the virus as a reason to expedite the Code, the Government has failed to deliver it.
The Code is also just one of a range of mechanisms the ACCC recommended to support the Australian media industry that the Government has failed to deliver.
It has now been 18 months since the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry final report was delivered and 12 months since the Government released its response.
A year ago, Labor cautioned that the Government had been wasting time and its response to the inquiry was lacking.
The Government has held press conferences but there has been little delivery of substance. As a result, the industry and consumers are missing out.
It remains to be seen whether the Government’s Code is workable or how big a difference it will make.
Labor will work through the detail and scrutinise the Bill through the Senate Committee process, in consultation with a range of stakeholders.
WEDNESDAY, 9 DECEMBER 2020