Andrews Labor Government abandoning rural newspapers

The Andrews Labor Government is attempting to ram through legislation that will have a potentially crippling impact on the public’s ability to access important information.

The Regulatory Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill passed through the government-dominated Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

The Bill includes proposed changes to the way the government advertises public notices – taking away the need for them to be published in print newspapers and instead move online.

Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the move again showed the disconnect between the Andrews Labor Government and rural and regional Victoria.

“If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that our newspapers are more important than ever in helping get important local information to people,” Ms Britnell said.

“There are many people – particularly older people – who are not tech or internet savvy and still look to get information like public notices from their local newspaper.

“When the government advertises public notices in a local newspaper they are there for everyone to see. They’re not hidden away on a website somewhere, impossible to find.”

Ms Britnell said newspapers in rural and regional Victoria needed support, rather than another hammer blow from the government.

“Taking away a revenue stream from newspapers at a time when they are trying to recover and rebuild from the pandemic is another cruel blow,” she said.

“We want our regional and rural newspapers to continue flourishing – to tell the stories of local people achieving extraordinary things; to entertain and enliven us; and to provide vital information like public notices to keep us informed.”

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