Courtesy radioinfo, which has a lengthy article on this today:
JOURNALIST: So is your aim as Minister to maintain, broadly, the current levels of services delivered to regional Australia. Or might you ask in return for relaxation of other laws that broadcasters actually deliver more to their audiences than they currently are?
FIFIELD: Well the bottom line is that we don’t want to see a diminution of what is provided in regional areas at the moment. What else there may be in addition to that, that’s something that we’re currently taking a look at and having conversations with the regional TV operators and with my parliamentary colleagues.
JOURNALIST: When will we see the legislation, Minister?
FIFIELD: Well when I am confident that it has good prospects of passing through the Senate. I think one of the things we’ve learnt over our first couple of years in government is that the starting point for legislation really needs to be the Senate. It shouldn’t be the last thing a Minister thinks about, it should be the first thing a Minister thinks about. Which is why I’m spending time talking to my crossbench colleagues, spending time talking to my own Party Room colleagues as well.
JOURNALIST: Would you be willing to split the bill to allow the passage of the reach rule, if not the two out of three rule?
FIFIELD: Look I’m keen to see both the reach rule and the two out of three put forward as a package. But look the Senate has a mind of its own and it’s the Senate as a whole that ultimately decides whether a package is split or whether a vote is put on a bill as a whole. So I’m keen to pursue a package, and that’s my intention.
JOURNALIST: On the timing issue, can this wait until after the next election if the Senate can’t get its act together? Or are the economic needs of some of the players in this such that it’s got to be done this year?
FIFIELD: I think it’s important to move quickly. There is no question that media laws are outdated. That’s something that’s accepted by my parliamentary colleagues. It’s accepted by media organisations. That being the case, let’s get on and do it so the media organisations can configure themselves in the way that best supports their viability.
JOURNALIST: Minister, given that we’ve known many of the media companies we now have and that employ us for many years, how different do you think the media landscape will look in a year or two compared to the way it is today?
FIFIELD: The media landscape, even putting aside any change in the media law, is changing day by day. We have Nine and Seven who have commenced live streaming, which really is 100% reach. So that in itself renders that particular media law redundant. But I wouldn’t want to predict what the media landscape will be, because it’s changing so quickly.