‘No material changes’: Government publishes interim anti-siphoning sports codes list

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has handed down an interim anti-siphoning list without changes to regulated sports codes, which will be in force for three years as the review of the scheme progresses.

Under the new list – the Broadcasting Services (Events) Notice 2023 – the televising of competitions including The Olympics Games, AFL, NRL, cricket and the Australian Open will need to remain free and accessible to the general public.

The previous anti-siphoning list was set to expire on 1 April. In October last year, the Albanese Government commenced its public consultation on a review of the scheme as promised in its election commitment. 

North Melbourne wins a nail-biter on Saturday. Source: Facebook

This review will now continue into the next stage as the Government undertakes further consultation on specific reform proposals mid-year.

Rowland said: “Every Australian deserves the chance to enjoy live and free coverage of events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they earn.

“The review of the anti-siphoning scheme is a priority for the Government in 2023 and is being progressed as part of a broader package of reforms to support a strong and vibrant media sector.”

Bridget Fair

The industry body for free-to-air networks, Free TV, welcomed the decision but pointed out that more reforms are needed in the review.

“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that the current 30-year-old rules are updated so that all Australians can continue to enjoy live sport on their TVs, free and for everyone,” said Free TV CEO Bridget Fair.

“The need for urgent action on this issue can’t be overstated. The current rules only apply to pay TV and there is nothing to stop streaming services or digital platforms from buying up exclusive rights to our iconic sporting events right now.”

Meanwhile, pay-TV provider Foxtel previously pushed for the anti-siphoning list to be reduced in scope to include events with true national importance and cultural significance, with a tech-neutral approach.

Patrick Delany

Foxtel Group CEO, Patrick Delany, said: “The way Australians watch sport today, increasingly through streaming, is totally different to the world that existed when these outdated rules were created. We welcome the Government’s continued commitment to reviewing these rules, which remain stuck in a time-warp and out of step with how Aussies are increasingly watching their favourite sports

“We agree that every Australian deserves to enjoy live and free coverage of truly iconic sporting events of national significance. But free should really mean free – not just delivered through old-school television.

“Free access can and is already being achieved through streaming – we are already streaming more than 35 major sporting events annually through Kayo Freebies.

“It’s time for the playing field to be levelled – with new rules that reflect the landscape of today, the rights and habits of Aussie sporting fans, and unlock additional funding for sporting bodies to invest in growing sport at the grassroots and elite levels.”


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