I rise today about an important issue that has been raised by constituents of Lalor. In fact, I have been inundated by emails—they are coming in thick and fast—from people concerned about the future of community television. Community television programming is set to be switched off our televisions at the end of this year, impacting on many regional areas, including the area of Wyndham. Channel 31 in Victoria began regular broadcasting in October 1994. It transmits diverse programs from news, to sports such as the local Geelong district football and netball league games, to lifestyle and important multicultural community programs. It enables people to be connected to their communities through programs that are not covered by mainstream television.
There are 90 locally made programs every week produced by volunteers and independent television makers, and they will disappear from our television screens because the Minister for Communications fails to understand just how far-reaching community television is. It is time for Minister Turnbull to engage with this sector and start consulting with the stakeholder groups to ensure the preservation and enhancement of this not-for-profit community resource and allow time for transition to an online broadcasting regime. This is not a big ask; it is a reasonable request. I call on the minister: please do not pull the rug out from under this great community asset, Mr Turnbull.