The Nationals in Government have announced 107 regional publishers and broadcasters who applied to the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Program will receive a share of $50 million in funding committed to support regional news services in 2020-21.

This funding was secured to support newspaper businesses and commercial broadcasters across regional and remote Australia. Unprecedented circumstances in regional media, such as the COVID-19 pandemic triggering catastrophic drops in advertising revenue, led to many newspapers suspending operations and threatening the sustainability of regional broadcasters.

The majority of the publishers receiving grants under this program operate small to medium businesses. The Nationals in Government know local papers are the life-blood of many towns, connecting communities and keeping people informed.

The Nationals in Government argued strongly for this specific and time-limited support measure, designed to assist the continued provision of quality news and information to communities across regional and remote Australia.

Of the 107 eligible applicants, there are 92 publishers, 13 for radio and five for television. Three applicants were successful across two streams.

Consistent with the PING guidelines, grants are conditional on publishers of suspended mastheads returning them to operation and recommencing print distribution.