MEDIA RELEASE - Labor welcomes plan for Google and Facebook to pay for regional news content

NSW Labor has welcomed the Federal Government’s call to have internet giants, including Google and Facebook, share their advertising revenue and pay Australian media companies for news.

Labor Shadow Minister for Investment, Tourism and Primary Industries Jenny Aitchison said the decision could provide a much-needed boost to struggling regional media, and must be fast-tracked due to pressure on regional newspapers. “I welcome the decision to have the competition watchdog, the ACCC, impose a mandatory code of conduct on these international companies to make them share revenue from locally generated news. “Regional and rural newspapers, radio and television newsrooms provide an essential community service. And they’re struggling,” Ms Aitchison said. “The state’s oldest regional newspaper The Maitland Mercury has stopped producing print editions and all staff other than the editor have been stood down until 29 June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mercury has been with us since 1843. It has told the story of our community for generations”. “Journalists, advertising, administrative and other staff, particularly those at The Maitland Mercury, The Cessnock Advertiser, the Dungog Chronicle, The Singleton Argus, Muswellbrook Chronicle and the Lower Hunter Star face an uncertain future from 30 June 2020.” The draft mandatory code will be available in July. “Regional and rural media outlets across NSW are facing significant financial hardship. There is less advertising revenue available and it’s only fair that global players to pay for local news that they use.”