Community television station Channel 31 has been granted a six-month extension to broadcast into 2017.
The Turnbull Federal Government, in their wisdom (or lack thereof), decided to bring 22 years of community television broadcasting to an end in Australia. In fairness to the government and its minister, this is just another one of its long list of fuck-ups of the music and media industries.
The Turnbull government stopped funding to music import support platform Sounds Australia only to reverse its decision after pressure from MP Tony Burke and Labor.
The government cuts to the Arts has been nonsensical. $36.8 million was cut from museums and galleries, Screen Australia lost $10.4 million in funding and the Book Council of Australia was scrapped completely.
10 of 14 youth performing arts organisations last there funding under this government. Under Labor in 2007, there was 21 youth performing arts companies. Now there are four.
Channel 31 is expected to migrate solely to an online presence when it finally loses its broadcast licence.
Channel 31 is staffed by volunteers. The community network broadcasts via TVS Sydney, C31 Melbourne and Geelong, 31 Digital Brisbane, 44 Adelaide and WTV Perth.
A statement from the minister’s office called the extension “a transition”. “Following consultation with CTV broadcasters operating terrestrial services, the Government will allow these services that wish to take up the extension until the end of June 2017 to transition to an online environment.”