The State Government should be fully committed to advertising in regional media for the sake of democracy according to Member for MacKillop Nick McBride. He spoke in support of a motion to this end recently put to the House of Assembly by the independent member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.
Mr McBride’s stance appears to be at odds to his position in 2019 when he voted to end the obligatory advertising by local councils of certain matters in country newspapers. His latest parliamentary speech lasted almost 10 minutes and he sang the praises of regional media. “As a member for a regional electorate that sits adjacent to that of the member for Mount Gambier, I understand and appreciate the importance of independent media and in particular print media, in our communities,” Mr McBride said.
“My electorate and Mr Bell’s electorate share several providers of independent media that deliver news across the Limestone Coast. “The delivery of the news by independent media platforms is fundamental to ensure that our communities are informed and engaged. “It is a foundation upon which our democracy is able to effectively function. “It enables us as state representatives of our communities in government to be questioned and held to account for our actions, policies and advocacy efforts.
“Local independent media platforms also connect people to each other, to the decisions of our federal and local governments, our businesses, our sporting groups, our social groups, our networks, our public services and, importantly, to the issues that affect people’s daily lives. “The media helps us to share our celebrations and achievements and share our sorrows. It helps us to signal our rituals, like funerals and memorial services and highlights life events, including marriages and milestone celebrations.”
Mr McBride said the Limestone Coast had an enviable rich combination of independent print, electronic and radio outlets that deliver national, state and local news and entertainment. “I know my constituents appreciate the opportunity to read or listen to a range of publications and outlets that have both a local and an increasingly regional outlook on news,” he said.
“I hope our State Government can do all it possibly can to support our regional media. We represent only 400,000 people in the state. “There are over a million people in the city, with city papers. “We are just as important. “We do not have the majority of figures and numbers to advocate, but we are diverse, we are spread over huge distances and we are just as important and need to be looked after. “We need messages put out there, bringing our communities together and making our communities stronger. “Resilience will be that much better for regional media.”
As well as Mr McBride, there were seven others MPs from all sides of politics who spoke in support of Mr Bell’s motion during the 80-minute debate. All came from rural or semi-rural seats with the exception of metropolitan Labor MP Diana Wortley who is a former secretary of the union which represents journalists and other media industry workers.
The other MPs to lend their support to the rural media advertising spend were Independent Geoff Brock, Liberals Tim Whetstone and Adrian Pederick and Labor’s Eddie Hughes, Leon Bignell and Tony Piccolo.