The State Opposition has committed to reinstating Government advertising in country newspapers, if voted in at the next election.
Speaking to group of Country Press SA representatives, including Mr Tony Robinson and Ms Celeste Newbery from The Leader, at a post-budget briefing at Parliament House last week, Shadow Treasurer Mr Stephen Mullighan said the decision to change advertising requirements in regional newspapers was small, but significant.
“One of the things this (Liberal) Government has done consistently over the last three years is change legislation to remove the requirement to advertise public notices in regional newspapers…,” Mr Mullighan said.
“The assumption has been that everybody looks at the internet, everybody dives three or four pages deep into the PIRSA or sa.gov.au website or the transport department website each, and every day.
“That is just so far from reality it’s not funny.
“That is something we will be reinstating, when we are back in Government.”
Mr Mullighan said changes to the requirement of publicising the commencement or completion of fire danger season, among other public notices, made a huge difference to country newspapers.
“By themselves, they all seem really small things, but collectively, we are talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars which are not being spent in regional newspapers, let alone the spend that would otherwise got to the Adelaide Advertiser and The Australian,” Mr Mullighan said.
An amendment to the Local Government Review Bill in 2020 was put forward by the State Opposition for Local Government to be required to advertise public notices only if the area had a circulating newspaper.
Shadow Minister for Local Government, Ms Emily Bourke said the proposed amendment was formed after issues were raised over the price of advertising in metropolitan newspapers.
“The Opposition put an amendment forward saying that you would only have to advertise if there is a paper circulating only in your area,” Ms Bourke said.
“It was an amendment to only support country newspapers, and that was not supported by the (Liberal) Government.”