The Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund will allow incorporated companies with an annual turnover of less than $30 million to apply for grants of up to $1 million. The total funds for the scheme will be made available over three years.
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the grants would help eligible publishers develop new business models and practices to stay competitive.
“We need to sustain quality journalism in our regions to ensure all Australians can access quality local news that is relevant to them,” Mr Fifield said.
“The media industry is undergoing a huge transition period and regional and small publishers are feeling the pressure from new and emerging digital platforms. These grants will help relieve that pressure by providing extra funding to help them explore new options and remain competitive.”
To be eligible for the scheme, publishers must use the funds to produce public interest journalism to benefit Australians.
The fund will be subject to a residency test which means only those centrally managed in Australia will be eligible, ruling out The Guardian and Daily Mail Australia.
The Innovation Fund was announced alongside the media law reforms. It was a key bargaining tool of the Nick Xenophon Team (now known as Centre Alliance), with the party agreeing the back the Coalition reforms only if provisions were made for the sustainability of regional publishing.
Applications close Friday, July 27, 2018.