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Funds have started flowing to Walpole Weekly as part of the Morrison Government’s $50 million Public Interest News Gathering (PING) program, providing much needed support to regional television, newspaper and radio outlets during COVID-19.

Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the funding will enable news outlets to continue serving their community by providing reliable news and information.

“I welcome the news that Walpole Weekly will receive $10,000 of funding, which will help keep local jobs and make sure quality public interest journalism continues to be available in our region,” Mr Wilson said.

“Public interest journalism keeps our communities informed and connected, and it is especially important for people living in regional and remote areas.”

“Funding under the program will see $20 million for television, $12 million for radio and $18 million for publishing all across regional Australia, with the majority of the publishers receiving grants operating as small‑to‑medium businesses,” Mr Wilson said.

“This funding will support a broad range of activities such as staff wages, training and technology upgrades to allow the successful recipients to keep delivering important news services to their communities.”

The PING program is just one of the relief measures the Government is providing to support the media industry during COVID-19. Other measures include $50 million for a Temporary Interruption Fund to support local film and television producers to recommence filming, $41 million spectrum tax relief for 12-months for commercial television and radio broadcasters, $5 million for the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund and temporary emergency suspension of content quotas for 2020.

Applications were considered through a demand-driven process, meaning that organisations who satisfied the eligibility criteria, including the production and distribution of public interest journalism in regional Australia, were eligible for funding.

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MEET RICK

I was inspired to run for Parliament following my involvement in a decade-long campaign to deregulate the wheat industry, which brought about the end of the Australia Wheat Board’s monopoly.

“I stand proudly for the Liberal philosophy of free markets, vigorous competition, small government and individual responsibility. These are the principles that guide me in my life and in this place. My track record in public life shows clearly that I am prepared to stand up for those principles.”

“To the electors of O'Connor, I reiterate the commitment that I have made to work tirelessly on your behalf, to always be frank and honest about the challenges we face, and to work cooperatively and collaboratively to improve the lives of the people who live in the greatest part of the greatest nation on earth”

– Rick Wilson MP Maiden Speech.