The Government has announced the 2021-22 Federal Budget, with a number of measures to boost Australia’s communications, media and arts sectors, including the following.
Improving online safety
The Government will invest an additional $5.2 million in a national online safety awareness campaign to inform Australians about the help available to them under the new Online Safety Act.
The campaign will promote the adult cyber-abuse scheme, a world-first initiative which will allow Australian adults who experience seriously harmful online abuse to have this material removed from the internet.
The campaign will also promote:
An expanded cyberbullying scheme for Australian children, which will capture a wider range of online services.
A strengthened image-based abuse scheme to address the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
An updated online content scheme, which will allow for the removal of the ‘worst of the worst’ online content, no matter where in the world it is hosted.
The campaign will also guide Australians to the resources, support and practical advice available through the eSafety Commissioner about staying safe online.
Regional Connectivity Program
The Government will build on the success of the Regional Connectivity Program by committing a further $84.4 million to the program, this includes up to $24.6 million in additional funding for meritorious Round 1 proposals, which were unable to be supported from within the initial funding envelope. The remaining funding will be available through a new competitive grants process.
The Government is also providing $68.5 million in dedicated funding to improve telecommunications infrastructure across Northern Australia through the Regional Connectivity Program and the Mobile Black Spot Program.
This funding opens up new opportunities for regional businesses, communities and regional services such as health and education. Funded projects will provide people in regional Australia access to improved broadband services and data delivering fast, affordable and reliable connectivity.
Peri-Urban Mobile Program
The Government’s $16.4 million Peri-Urban Mobile Program will deliver funding to improve mobile connectivity in bushfire prone areas along the fringe of Australia’s major cities.
The peri-urban fringe is where the bush meets the edges of the suburbs, creating bushfire risks for those living and working in those areas.
The Program will complement the highly successful Mobile Black Spot Program, providing grant funding to mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to deploy new mobile phone infrastructure to address mobile reception and coverage issues in peri-urban areas.
The Government will provide an additional $8.0 million over two years to the Community Broadcasting Foundation as part of the Community Broadcasting Program. This is set to benefit Australia’s 450 community radio broadcasters.
Public Interest News Gathering Program
The Government will provide additional funding of $15 million over two years to the Australian Associated Press Newswire (AAP), starting in the 2020-21 financial year, as part of the Public Interest News Gathering Program.
The funding will support AAP’s continued provision of newswire services, consisting of regional, national and international news, to regional media outlets across Australia. This allows regional media businesses to concentrate on covering local news stories that are important to their communities.
Measuring Broadband Australia
The Government will support the continued delivery of the Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) program by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an additional four years at a cost of $7.7 million that will be recovered in full via the Annual Carrier Licence Charge.
The program will continue to help consumers select reliable, high speed fixed-line broadband services that meet their needs, and will extend these benefits to additional regional and emerging market segments by including fixed wireless broadband services.
Supporting the News Media Bargaining Code
The Government will provide the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with an additional $4.2 million over three years from 2020-21 to enable the regulator to discharge its responsibilities under the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code.
More support for Australia’s National Collecting Institutions
The Government will provide additional funding of $85.4 million to our National Collecting Institutions to improve their financial sustainability and enable them to undertake a variety of capital works so that we can continue to preserve and enjoy Australia’s cultural heritage.
Additional funding of $32.4 million over two years will be provided to eight National Collecting Institutions to improve their financial sustainability and enable them to deliver public services and programs, including:
Australian National Maritime Museum
Museum of Australian Democracy
National Film and Sound Archive
National Gallery of Australia
National Library of Australia
National Museum of Australia, and
National Portrait Gallery of Australia.
The Government will also provide additional funding of $47.5 million to our national cultural institutions for a variety of capital works so that we can continue to preserve and enjoy Australia’s cultural heritage.
This includes funding of $28.6 million to the National Gallery of Australia to replace end-of-life capital assets to improve the safety of staff and visitors and support the ongoing care of the Gallery’s collection valued at $6.2 billion.
Funding of $9 million over two years will also be provided to the Australian National Maritime Museum, Bundanon Trust and the National Library of Australia to deliver safety related capital works. This will include safety improvements to public thoroughfares and replacement of fire safety systems at the Australian National Maritime Museum, restoration of the Bundanon Homestead, maintenance of the Boyd Education Centre, and support for the replacement of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system at the National Library of Australia.
Funding of $5.5 million over four years will also be provided to establish and sustain an additional exhibition in the Museum of Australian Democracy.
Further funding of $11.9 million over four years from 2021-22 and $3.0 million ongoing, will be provided to the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) to support the development and distribution of quality Australian children’s content. This is in addition to the funding of $20 million over two years provided in the 2020-21 Budget.