The ALP has pledged to re-establish shortwave radio services across the NT.
Labor MPs Stephen Jones, Malarndirri McCarthy and Warren Snowdon today said a Labor Government would provide the ABC with $2 million in funding to help re-establish shortwave radio services.
Katherine’s shortwave transmitter, opposite the Stuart Highway just north of the town, was switched off back in January last year.
At the time, critics slammed the move saying it would risk lives in the outback.
ABC said the decision only impacted a small number of people.
ABC management said the majority of people affected by the loss of shortwave radio, such as those living in remote Indigenous communities and on homesteads, would be able to access "the full amount of ABC services" through satellite links.
Long-haul truckers, fisherfolk, station owners and workers said they were worried and still need the shortwave services for communication, particularly at times of emergency.
Australians living in remote areas already face significant communications challenges and the loss of access to ABC services from shortwave radio cuts people off from emergency broadcasts as well as being an important connection to the rest of Australia, the federal Labor MPs said today.
They saud organisations like the NT Government, NT Cattlemen’s Association, Northern Territory Seafood Council representing commercial and tourist fishing businesses, Amateur Fisherman Association, Indigenous Rangers, long haul transport drivers and the Toyota Land Cruiser Club representing Grey Nomads have raised concerns about the loss of these services.
In January 2017, Opposition leader Bill Shorten wrote to then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asking him to work with the ABC to restore the shortwave.
Labor believes that it was premature to cut ABC shortwave radio services and that if the ABC had not been under intense budget constraints, this decision would never have been made.
Labor’s funding commitment of $2 million to restore ABC shortwave services is in addition to Labor’s commitment to reverse the Government’s $83.7 million cut to the ABC.
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