‘Give regional newspaper advertisers tax rebates’

Regional businesses that support their local newspaper through advertising should get a tax rebate, a parliamentary inquiry has urged.

The inquiry into Australia’s regional newspapers which was prepared by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, also recommends the Australian Government develop a targeted grants program aimed at small, independent titles serving regional and remote Australian communities.

Committee chair Anne Webster said regional newspapers have been challenged for more than a decade by loss of revenue and talent, as well as rising costs.

“As a result, regional newspapers have experienced a significant loss of jobs and important community issues are going unreported,” she said.

“News ‘deserts’  have also been emerging – meaning that some communities are not covered by a newspaper at all.”

Among other things, the inquiry recommends fostering partnerships between the ABC and SBS, and for the Commonwealth to spend a minimum of 20 percent of its print advertising budget on regional papers.