ABC ‘shouldn’t forget about remote Australia’, say NT pollies

The ABC’s decision to switch off shortwave radio services in the Northern Territory could cost lives, according to NT federal Labor MPs Malarndirri McCarthy and Warren Snowdon.

The MPs said the broadcaster had advised them it would continue switching off shortwave at the end of January.

“The ABC Local Radio service often provides the only reliable source of information and entertainment to remote communities, pastoral stations and people who otherwise work remotely and are mobile,” they said in a joint statement.

“In times of natural disaster—such as flood, cyclones or fire—it can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

“ABC management must stop treating Territorians in remote areas like second-class citizens.”

Senator McCarthy and Mr Snowdon said satellite and mobile phone technology would not fill the gap.

 “What’s worse is that ABC management appears convinced that it is more important to improve digital services for larger population centres, than to ensure basic service provision in the bush,” they said.

They want the ABC to defer the decision to scrap shortwave radio in the NT and to consult with people in isolated areas.

Wendy Caccetta

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