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“Matter of time” before regional news lost, GWN warns.

Prime Media boss Ian Audsley has warned that regional news bulletins in Western Australia could be axed without imminent media reform.

Writing for Fairfax Media he described existing broadcasting rules as “a slowly tightening noose around the neck of your local TV stations” while streaming services like Netflix go unregulated.

Prime-owned GWN celebrates its 50th birthday this month. Yet while Prime, WIN Corporation and Southern Cross Austereo have pushed for the scrapping of ownership regulations, Labor and the Greens are opposed to the Government’s bill in its current form.

“As regional TV markets decay at an increasing pace, the day will dawn when independent TV stations under financial pressure are forced to reduce their commitment to local programming,” Audsley wrote.

“We are on the cusp of public policy failure.

“The outcome of Parliament’s constipation will be market failure on a number of levels, but particularly for local content,” he writes.

“It is simply a matter of time before GWN will have to review its commitment to local news.”

Employing more than 40 people, GWN has offices in Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Geraldton and Perth, as well as staff in Broome.

Last month Nine and Southern Cross began rolling out the first of 15 regional bulletins, produced from metropolitan studios, utilising regional crews.

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