VOICE OF IPSWICH: Blair MP, Shayne Neumann and Local Ipswich News publisher, David Johnston, proudly show Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, last week’s edition of Local Ipswich News. Today’s paper is the 71st edition of the paper which started in March, 2021.
WHEN it comes to looking after the local community, long time Federal Member, Shayne Neumann, doesn’t have any concerns about loudly making his point known in the Canberra corridors of power.
Federal Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, is one of the new ministers who the Blair MP has been focusing his attention on.
It resulted in the minister visiting Ipswich last week at Mr Neumann’s request to see firsthand how local independent publishers had rallied following News Limited’s decision to cease publishing newspapers in the city.
Mr Neumann has been beating the drum to help keep the district’s new local papers alive.
The message he’s been delivering to his parliamentary colleagues is that local papers are critical to regional communities such as Ipswich.
“Fortunately, the Albanese Government is listening and is committed to supporting the local print industry to avoid a catastrophic loss of local papers after significant increases in newsprint costs that kicked in just a month ago,” he said.
“That’s why we moved quickly to finalise a local newspaper grants scheme, so that funding can flow to where it’s needed most as soon as possible.”
Minister Rowland said applications for the Albanese Government’s $15 million Regional and Local Newspaper Publishers Program delivers on Labor’s commitment to support eligible print publishers by helping them to absorb the price increases, which threaten the sustainability of newspapers and journalism jobs across Australia.
“This funding is needed by publishers to help maintain their cash flow and continue printing.
“Local papers are vital in an era where we have misinformation, the pandemic and unfortunately re-occurring natural disasters.
“We have people seeking out their local newspapers to keep them connected with their communities, it has never been more important.
“This scheme goes some way to alleviating publisher’s pressures, of course it doesn’t solve everything, but it does provide some immediate relief.”
Minister Rowland said there has not been a more vocal local member than Mr Neumann in regard to protecting the future of local papers.
Under the program, $10 million is available for eligible regional newspaper publishers, and $5 million
for eligible independent suburban, First Nations, and multicultural newspaper publishers. It’s part of a $29 million local news and community broadcasting transition package to help regional, local and community media providers.