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Your views: on Channel 44, ABC, super funds and right-hand turns

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Adelaide community TV’s imminent switch-off, ABC cuts, public service super funds, and smooth traffic flow versus parking and local traders.

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Commenting on the story: Clock ticking on permanent Channel 44 switch-off

In 2014 the Communications Minister of the day was Malcolm Turnbull, and he thought that the spectrum occupied by community TV in the major cities had a sale value. 

This was the original basis for what the current Minister, Paul Fletcher, states is Government policy. Certainly the Government funded community TV to set up an online service which the community channels took up, as basically it was online service or no service at that time as they believe they were about to be dumped.

This form of blackmail resulted in community stations in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth vanishing from a free to air service and eventually closing down.

The spectrum those three stations occupied is still not being used! The Melbourne and Adelaide stations resisted and have been able to obtain several extensions since that time.

Importantly it should be noted that Minister Fletcher has stated that there are no plans for the Adelaide or Melbourne spectrum should community TV leave.

In the last few years the “big” operators have been given significant financial benefits including commercial broadcasting tax relief ($41 Million), commercial licence fee removals (perhaps $90 million), plus a $30 million grant to Fox Sports for women’s and niche sports coverage.

Not sure if the Minister is aware that C44 covers many of those sports and it does not get a $30 million grant! No doubt C44 would like to see a small portion of this generosity.

For the Minister to stick by the 2014 policy, which totally failed to take into account the value of community TV on free to air TV is puzzling, especially as the Government has shown it has been willing to change course in many ways over the last few months.

They can be flexible and they should show this flexibility in granting community TV a long term tenure. – Paul Turner                     

I have become extremely disappointed with the Federal Government’s recognition of the arts and community mainstream media platforms.

The mean-spirited approach to non commercially viable platforms has led to SBS becoming no different than an over-commercialised station that is forced to destroy excellent programs with constant advertising and self-promotion that makes viewing less and less desirable.

Going on the current mindset of the Federal Government, it will only be a matter of time before the ABC will have to commercialise it’s operations.

The refusal to grant Channel 44 a very cheap licence beggars belief. What is the real cost to the taxpayer for a non-commercial licence?

Surely there is no commercial value to this and why should it even be compared to commercial licences? They have done the same to ethnic radio licences which has led to the demise of many worthy and useful cultural programs.

This is another blow to the cultural arts and community access to a very convenient television platform.

I am not sure who convinced the Federal Government that we are all watching programs via the internet on smartphones, laptops and tablets. – Sozo Nikias

Commenting on the story: More job cuts for ABC and News Corp in South Australia

The ABC should not be compared with commercial media operations. The news media in total is a critical part of a democratic system.

 If it is really going to carry out its democratic function it must be resourced to do so, and must be unrestrained by government and other powerful interests.

Of course, in this role, a commercial monopoly and a government monopoly are equally bad news. The ideal is a well-resourced, government-supported organisation, like the ABC, with a number of serious, competing, privately-owned media businesses as well.

 In Australia, we lack this private competition, which makes the viability of the ABC even more important.

The private, commercial need for maximising viewers leaves a critical space empty. This space, of factual, trustworthy, journalism, consistent nationwide, is one which the ABC can and should usefully fill.  

People complain that the ABC uses taxpayer money to do things which they don’t use, but these things are critical to democracy.

The more the ABC is cut, the more under-resourced becomes, the less effective it can be.  And yet, this Government continues to even further nobble and neuter the ABC. Unbelievable! David Harris

Reducing the effectiveness of our national broadcaster by continually cutting funding shows short-sightedness on the part of the Morrison government.

In times of national emergencies such as COVID-19, the horrific bushfires, floods and droughts the national broadcaster is a trusted unifying force throughout our nation. We have been constantly informed with accurate reporting about issues of national importance.

The rural and regional areas are connected with the urban parts of Australia by our national broadcaster. Government both federal and state communicate to our nation via the national broadcaster.

Just like the national health scheme having a national broadcaster is of huge benefit to the nation as we have seen throughout national emergencies.

Why would a government deny its citizens of a well-resourced national broadcaster? It sounds very much like the rapid withdrawal of support being flagged re the Jobkeeper program.This too will punish citizens as they struggle with finding work, finding affordable childcare and struggle to catch up with rent in arrears.

All I can say is that the old saying “penny wise pound foolish” needs to be heeded by our politicians.

The majority of citizens right now and for the months ahead,  need the ongoing support of government. Money can always be found by governments with their own sovereign currency when there is a will to find it, for example the money that magically appeared to support the “sports rorts” behaviour prior to the last election. – Jane Osborne

Commenting on the story: SA public servants set to get freedom of super choice

I am one of many freelancers in the Arts sector in South Australia who work for a myriad of companies and organisations in one year.

At the moment all my employers or contractees allow me to choose my superannuation scheme.

The South Australian Government does not – for me that includes any work I do at the Adelaide Festival Centre and for bodies such as Country Arts SA.

In order to minimise administration costs with 2 Super funds running, I need to regularly “resign” from the Adelaide Festival Centre where I am employed on a casual contract; I then roll-over my Super SA contributions into my fund of choice; when casual work becomes available at the Festival Centre I am re-employed!

The other issue not mentioned in this article is that if I did choose to use Super SA as my fund of choice, I can’t make contributions into it from non-government organisations.

As a result I, and many other workers in South Australia, are forced to run 2 funds in parallel; something we have been told for many years is not financially a good idea.

I am sure this affects many other sectors in South Australia and look forward to these changes which as your article points out have been in the pipeline for many years. Françoise Piron

Commenting on the story: Norwood traders threaten legal action over council bid to ban right-hand turns

Suburbs with higher density are being divided into sectors by a succession of Ministers of Transport by switching off the right turns at intersections during rush periods, all in the mantra of “short tip times” from one point to another along the main roads.

Our main roads, such as The Parade, need to serve local traffic as a first priority if they are to be functionally useful.  If through traffic is the priority it makes the suburb unprofitable for local businesses and a nightmare for residents.

One long term solution would be to similar to Wacker Drive in Chicago. The vast majority of the street is double-decked; the upper level intended for local traffic, and the lower level for through-traffic and trucks servicing buildings on the road. First completed in 1926. Chicago has 17 such multi-level streets. Neil Hamilton

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