We all love radio. Through radio, we keep up to date with the news, the latest music and our local community. As politicians, we know better than most that radio is a great way to communicate with our constituents.
More and more people are streaming radio online. They listen to radio through their phone and through their computer every day. What would we do, I wonder, if we woke up one day and were unable to listen to our favourite radio stations? This is the situation currently facing millions of Australians who have been unable to listen to their favourite radio stations online since late last year.
For over 10 months, the Minister for Communications has had on his desk the recommendations of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee calling on him to resolve ambiguity that currently exists around whether online broadcasting is a simulcast or a separate broadcast. In over 10 months, he has done nothing. While this ambiguity exists, radio stations are paying double for their licensing fees, which has forced nearly 200 regional radio stations, including many right here in Canberra, to cease online broadcasting altogether.
I have a petition, signed by 783 Canberrans, calling on the minister to take action to fix the situation as a matter of urgency. On behalf of these frustrated Canberrans, the people in the region and the many people throughout Australia concerned about this, I urge the minister to stop ignoring these concerns and to take action now.