Nationals back regional newspapers and transparency

The Nationals have scored a win in State Parliament, forcing the Labor Government to backflip on planned changes to requirements around the publication of notices in print newspapers.

The Labor Government previously tried to force through legislative changes that would remove the requirement for the government and councils to publish notices in print newspapers and instead have the option to only publish online.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said Gippslanders rely on their local newspaper for information, especially those without a computer or access to the internet.

“For many, local newspapers are the ‘go to place’ to find out what is happening in their community and what their local council is doing.

“This change would have effectively disconnected communities even further from the actions of their government or council.  The printing of public notices in newspapers is how many people find out about state or local government matters that affect them.

“This includes planning developments, consultation on key issues and changes to rules and regulations.

“Hiding them away on a government website where people would have to go looking for them is not in the best interests of transparency.”

Mr O’Brien said the change would also have been detrimental to local newspapers which have been hard hit by the pandemic.

“Now is not the time to be taking more revenue from our local media, which is a valuable part of our communities.  Our papers in Gippsland do a great job and are still a very good way for government and local councils to communicate with the public.”

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