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Labor will overhaul the scheme which ensures major sporting events remain on free-to-air if elected, as current laws need to be toughened against ‘deep-pocketed’ streaming giants.

Australia’s anti-siphoning laws aim to give free-to-air broadcasters the first chance to buy television rights to major events, such as the Olympics, Australian Open and matches in the AFL and NRL seasons.

Labor will overhaul Australia’s anti-siphoning laws if elected on May 21.Credit:Graphic: Phil Carrick

Labour’s communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said the current regime needed to be “urgently updated” because it failed to take into account the involvement of online streaming services.

She said Sunrise Saturday morning that the Morrison government had “failed” to complete a review of the program while in office.

“(We want) to ensure that Australians can have a sporting chance to see iconic events of national significance, regardless of where they live or what they can afford,” Rowland said.

“It is imperative for Australia’s national identity. It’s also imperative when we’ve had this rise of deep-pocketed multinational streaming giants, and we want to make sure that all Australians can enjoy this access.

Union communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland.

Union communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“We are very aware of the … cost of living pressures facing Australian families at the moment, and we must do everything in our power to ensure that this is not exacerbated.”

No cost has been set aside for Labor’s potential review of Australia’s anti-siphoning regime, with Rowland saying policy work should be completed as “business as usual” for a government in power.

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