Mayors from regional communities across the State are being encouraged to lobby management executives of the country’s two public broadcasters to visit their towns and cities as part of a new policy to hold community forums in regional areas.
Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald said he is calling on Mayors of regional Councils to write and personally invite the management of the ABC and SBS to host their forums locally, following the announcement of the first community forum to be held in Alice Springs next month.
Senator Macdonald said following the Turnbull Government’s new policy announced last year which requires the public broadcasters to hold at least two regional forums a year, he wrote to ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie, asking her to consider hosting a forum in the north.
Small towns such as Ayr, Ingham, Charters Towers, Innisfail, Mareeba and Atherton are typical of the communities that would welcome the ABC Board and be willing to provide meaningful feedback, Senator Macdonald said.
“It is essential that country Australians make the ABC aware of the ‘other’ Australia that many in the head office in Sydney simply do not understand, or care about,” Senator Macdonald said.
“Some ABC rural programs are excellent but news bulletins and many current affairs programs are city-centric and country people should take this opportunity to tell the ABC management that there is another Australia, which produces all our food and much of our wealth.”
Senator Macdonald said he has also written to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield to ensure the public broadcasters undertake their regional commitments.
“I’ve no doubt these regional audiences would welcome the chance to provide feedback on the services provided by the ABC and SBS, while at the same time showcasing the natural beauty and perfect climate we enjoy.”