Funds have started to flow to 107 regional news outlets across the country, including the Huon Newspaper Company and Croakey Health Media, as part of the Morrison Government’s $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program, providing much needed support to regional television, newspaper and radio outlets during COVID-19.

Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism Jonno Duniam said the funding would enable Huon News to continue serving the Huon Valley by providing reliable community news and information.

“It is great news that Huon Newspaper Company Pty Ltd will receive $31,053, which will help keep local jobs and make sure quality journalism continues to be available in our regions to keep locals informed,” Assistant Minister Duniam said.

“Local news not only ensures people in our regions are informed, but it also ensures they are connected, and that’s especially important for those living in rural and remote areas.”

“The Huon News brings important local stories to a number of small communities, and it’s been an essential part of the community for around 100 years.”

The not-for-profit public interest journalism organisation Croakey Health Media Ltd received a $10,000 grant under the program.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said the majority of the publishers receiving grants were small-to-medium businesses.

“Funding under the program will see $20 million for television, $12 million for radio and $18 million for publishing all across regional Australia,” Minister Fletcher said.

“This funding will support a broad range of activities such as staff wages, training and technology upgrades to allow the successful recipients to keep delivering important news services to their communities.”

Stuart Heather from the Huon News and Kingborough Chronicle said the grant would be used across both papers to increase the digital and online output.

“Both of our southern Tasmanian publications have seen a boost in local readership, showing the importance and demand for local independent trusted news, especially during a pandemic.

“This will widen our demographic of readers and enable local news to be delivered in more ways.”

The PING program is just one of the relief measures the Government is providing to support the media industry during COVID-19. Other measures include $50 million for a Temporary Interruption Fund to support local film and television producers to recommence filming, $41 million spectrum tax relief for 12-months for commercial television and radio broadcasters, $5 million for the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund and temporary emergency suspension of content quotas for 2020.

Applications were considered through a demand-driven process, meaning that organisations who satisfied the eligibility criteria, including the production and distribution of public interest journalism in regional Australia, were eligible for funding.

Details of successful recipients will be available on Grant Connect: