Nothing is ever free.

<strong>Nothing is ever free.</strong>

OPINION | By Zac Lockhart – Editor of Tamar Valley News and Managing Director of Hyperlocal Media 

The word free gets thrown around a lot nowadays. Not too long ago it was free COVID tests, free vaccinations and even free bus travel. But nothing is ever free. Goods and services can be subsidised, or funded through a grant or other funding arrangement, but the money is still being moved around – even if the end user is not the one directly paying for it.  

That’s not to say that subsidies and grants should not exist, but perhaps those who market such services as ‘free’ should be more upfront and honest about the costs involved. Take COVID testing for example, of course this service should be affordable and accessible – however the word ‘free’ diminishes the very real costs involved, and while we’re on that subject, let’s stop calling it ‘Government funded’ and start calling it by its more accurate term: taxpayer funded.  

In an age of entitlement, where large companies expect million-dollar handouts of taxpayer money, staff at Tasmanian takeaway shops are abused for not having chips amidst a potato shortage, and people in Facebook groups have the audacity to expect that already-free items posted as available for pick-up be delivered to their door (you guessed it, for free), we could all benefit from the reminder that nothing is ever truly free.  

Even this very newspaper, which is marketed as free to read, is not free for us to publish. We receive no government funding or grants to offset rising costs, and nor do we charge a subscription in order to read our content. Instead, as a locally owned business, we rely on advertising revenue to pay our team of local staff and cover the costs of printing and distribution. It is because of our advertisers that you can read local news like this without a paywall. So make sure you support them, buy local and tell them you saw their ad in the Tamar Valley News, and if you own a business, consider advertising with us. Not only does it support local news publishing, but it also puts your business in front of an engaged, local audience.  

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