Labor leader Anthony Albanese says there could be fewer voices in regional Australia if calls for fundamental changes to the media landscape are ignored.
Mr Albanese says Labor will pursue a fairer deal for regional media at the next election, if the Morrison government fails to make changes to help local news services survive.
Regional media companies including ACM (the owner of this newspaper) and broadcasters Prime Media Group, WIN Network and Southern Cross Austereo are calling on government to relax the voices test - which requires there to be at least four voices in regional commercial radio licence areas.
They also want the one-licence-to-a-market rule - which prevents television broadcasters from operating more than one TV licence in a market - to be abandoned.
The companies argue the rules are arbitrary given the dominance of Google and Facebook, and prevent companies from merging in order to survive.
Mr Albanese, who was Communications Minister in 2013, said it could actually reduce media diversity further if these companies went under.
"In the regional media market, those involved with the Save Our Voices campaign, it's driven by smaller players in the overall media market. Smaller but significant players who have come together because they want to make sure that we don't reduce media diversity in Australia," Mr Albanese said.
"If those smaller operators disappear then that will further concentrate media ownership which is not a great outcome."
Mr Albanese said regional media were "forgotten" in the limited reforms of 2017.
"This government is good at leaving people out and forgetting people. They forgot about the regionals," Mr Albanese said.
"The regions, in terms of a voice, is even more important for a range of reasons. In your capital city markets you've got multiple voices in many of them.
"Without reform we know there will actually be less voices in the regions."
Labor's assistant treasury spokesman Stephen Jones said it was vital that regional media companies survived.
"Journalism is a public good. We've got to find a way to ensure that we can pay for it, businesses can make money out of it so they can employ people and they can't all be based in Ultimo or Surry Hills. We've got to have them based in the regions," Mr Jones said.
"Sometimes we talk about this as if it's just about telling stories to people living in regions about what's going on in their own background.
"That's critical, but it's also important that we tell people who don't live in your region what's going on in your area so we can tell the capital cities what's going on in the regions.
"That's absolutely critical. Otherwise the only view of the world they get is the one they live in."