Fighting for local TV

FIGHT: Buckleboo resident Audrey Lienert pictured with her collection of letters sent in an attempt to get local tv channels.
FIGHT: Buckleboo resident Audrey Lienert pictured with her collection of letters sent in an attempt to get local tv channels.

The Kimba District Council is looking to find a way to get its residents access to local television channels so they can watch local news and sport.

All residents who live west of Darke Peak are classified as ‘remote’ by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which means they receive the Viewer Access Satelite Television (VAST).

Residents in the VAST area get their news and sport from the eastern states, with the weather coming from the Mount Isa area.

Kimba District Council mayor Dean Johnson said in order to get the local television, it would have to be funded by channels such as Southern Cross but that would be unlikely.

“We don’t think there is a viable solution to get the TV channels,” Mr Johnson said.

“Instead, we are going to look at getting better internet for our residents so that they can at least stream these channels.”

Buckleboo resident Audrey Lienert has been fighting for local television provisions for not only Kimba but the rest of the Eyre Peninsula.

She has been writing letters to local and federal politicians, councils, the ACMA, Imparja and Southern Cross.

“They’ve told me that Kimba is remote and therefore we belong to the Northern Territory but I’ve been trying to tell them otherwise,” Mrs Lienert said.

“This classification was done in 1942 and the boundaries reconsidered in 1996 but Kimba was still considered remote.”

Mrs Lienert is not only concerned about what is broadcast on the television but also the gap in education for the residents.

“Our kids are going to college but they haven’t been learning from the local news,” she said.

“They keep talking about Gonski funding and how every child is equal but clearly ours aren’t.”

In a letter written to the ACMA, Mrs Lienert said she was concerned by the “disregard the ACMA seems to hold for the needs of the people of the Eyre Peninsula in their ability to access broadcast programs that are relevant to their community”.

Mrs Lienert has previously worked with a resident from Streaky Bay to get these provisions without success.

“We got our first black and white TV in 1964 and we got the local news on channel four, it was sometimes snowy but at least we got it,” she said.

“I’m just very cross as we’re very big producers here on the Eyre Peninsula.

“Everyone has told me that it would cost too much to get the channels here but we create so much money for the government through taxes alone but no money has gone towards our television provisions.”

Mrs Lienert has received hundreds of signatures as part of petitions but nothing has happened.

In response to her letters, the ACMA said even if the boundaries were changed, it would not mean broadcasters would broadcast to the new areas.