Treasurer discusses code with media chiefs

·2-min read

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has spoken to the heads of Google and Facebook as he tries to make the digital giants pay for the Australian journalism they publish.

His news media bargaining code will be debated in federal parliament this week after being endorsed by a cross-party committee.

Tech giants have been pushing back against the bargaining code but Mr Frydenberg believes progress is being made.

"There are many eyes across the world that are focused on what Australia is doing right now," he told ABC radio on Monday.

"We have made great progress over the course of the weekend - I think we're very close to some very significant commercial deals - and in doing so, that will transform the domestic media landscape."

Mr Frydenberg has spoken to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

"They are very focused on what is happening here in Australia but I sense they are also trying to reach deals," he said.

"Both the media proprietors and the digital giants recognise we have something that is workable here in Australia, something we can take forward, something that can ensure a sustainable media landscape, and something that will see journalism continue and journalists rewarded for generating original content."

Seven West Media has become the latest news organisation to secure a deal providing content to Google Showcase, which launched in Australia earlier this month.

Company chairman Kerry Stokes thanked the treasurer and Australia's competition watchdog for their work in an announcement to the stock exchange.

"Their outstanding leadership on the implementation of the proposed news media bargaining code has resulted in us being able to conclude negotiations that result in fair payment and ensure our digital future," he said.

"The negotiations with Google recognise the value of quality and original journalism throughout the country and in particular regional areas.

"Google is to be congratulated for taking a leadership position in Australia and we believe their team is committed to the spirit of the proposed code."