The Minister for Creative Industries says the Government will provide key funding to ensure that community television station Channel 31 (C31) can continue to provide a vital communication service through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Minister Martin Foley today confirmed a $120,000 grant will support C31 to transition to a digital model.
The move came after lobbying from the Victorian Government, the City of Melbourne and a range of community groups led to the Commonwealth Government extending the station’s broadcast licence into Melbourne and Geelong for a final 12 months.
“Community television is an important and highly valued service, particularly for members of Victoria’s diverse multicultural, disability and LGBTIQ communities,” said Mr Foley.
“As we continue to face the impacts of coronavirus and life with restrictions, access to information and home-based entertainment is more important than ever – especially for vulnerable Victorians.”
He said additional support will also come via advertising investment from the Victorian Government, helping to make sure important information reaches all Victorians – particularly during the pandemic.
Since restrictions came into force in March, Channel 31’s audience has soared by almost a quarter as many turned to religious services, seniors exercise classes, educational programs and other content during isolation.
C31 reaches 660,000 viewers each month and broadcasts 100 shows a week, the bulk of which are made with the help of the station’s 1,000 volunteers.
“For many in our community Channel 31 is a lifeline and this is an important investment in its future,” said Mr Foley.
He said the Government would also work with groups, including those from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds and older Victorians, to ensure they have the digital literacy skills to access C31 programming when it moves online.