WIN television has been urged to reverse its ending of Albury and Wagga news services by a Riverina MP.
NSW Nationals politician Wes Fang made the call in a notice of motion he put to the Legislative Council yesterday morning.
He told parliament that ending the bulletins "is a tragedy for local communities and represents a sad day for news services".
NSW Nationals state director Ross Cadell echoed Mr Fang's concerns, saying "these communities deserve better" and highlighting election spending.
"In the first six months of this year we spent close to $3 million advertising on regional television, but as of this moment I have instructed our party to immediately cease all advertising with WIN TV until they reverse this decision," he said.
Mr Fang's motion "that this House call on WIN TV to reverse this decision", labelling it "a blatant cost-cutting measure", will be formally moved in August when parliament resumes after a winter recess.
In the meantime he hopes it will put pressure on the network.
This morning, I moved a motion in the @nsw_upperhouse, in support of #WINNews and its employees.— Wes Fang (@WesFangNats) June 20, 2019
It’s time for #WIN to reverse this decision and support our rural and regional communities!@sarah_elouise@SarahNavin@BurgeNews@MoyraShields@ABCRural@ozroan@RexMartinichpic.twitter.com/ul5ICG5n78
"It's clearly a commercial decision, it's a dollars and cents decision, but at the same time when you feel pressure from a social standpoint there is an opportunity to reverse the decision," Mr Fang told The Border Mail.
"I hope those in charge of WIN are taking on board the feedback that is coming from all corners of NSW and this affects their social licence and standing in rural communities."
WIN, which blamed a lack of commercial viability for ending the bulletins from next Friday, did not respond to Mr Fang's move.
Liberal member for Albury Justin Clancy said the notice of motion was Mr Fang's prerogative.
"If WIN reversed their decision that would be most welcome but they're a commercial entity and they need to make decisions in that regard," Mr Clancy said.
He was saddened by the move and impact on jobs.
The struggle faced by WIN News is reflected in ratings figures which show its 6pm Border weekday bulletin attracting less than 10 per cent of viewers.
Last week an average of 3629 tuned in each night compared to 7315 (19.8 per cent) for Nine News Border North East and 26,073 (70.4 per cent) for Prime7 Local News.
Shepparton-based television analyst Kevin Perry, of website TV Blackbox, said the end of WIN News was inevitable.
"As much as people say they watch local news, the audience figures don't show that."
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