ABC to increase rural and regional focus

The ABC's charter will have to ensure its programming contributes to a sense of regional identity.
The ABC's charter will have to ensure its programming contributes to a sense of regional identity.

The ABC will be forced to increase its coverage of rural and regional Australia under a revived Morrison government plan.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher re-introduced legislation to the lower house on Wednesday that alters the national broadcaster's charter to ensure its programming contributes to a sense of regional identity.

The laws build on a proposal originally from Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie, as well as legislation the coalition introduced to parliament in 2017, to appease the One Nation party.

Under the proposal, two ABC board members would have to have significant links to, or experience in, regional areas.

A regional advisory council would also be established to reflect the views of remote communities.

The ABC board would have to consult with the advisory council on any change to its services which would impact regional Australia.

"The bill contains a range of measures to strengthen to focus of the ABC on rural and regional communities," Mr Fletcher said.

"These constitute important safeguards for those Australians living outside of capital cities and larger metro areas."

Australian Associated Press