CANBERRA: Australia's Federal communications minister Senator Helen Coonan last week warned that over-regulation of rural and regional media markets could hamper the delivery of new services.

The country's National Party is demanding that the federal government's proposed media reforms include special provisions for mergers in regional markets - but Coogan is not enthused at the prospect of yet more controls.

"I will continue to consult with my colleagues both Liberal and National . . . during the drafting of the legislation," she said. "But I do believe that it is important to note that there are substantial risks in over regulating regional markets that could have long term disadvantages for delivery of new media services."

It was not possible or desirable to legislate for every potential outcome. "It's preferable, in my view, to have a clear regulatory framework backed up by appropriate safeguards." These include provisions such as ensuring local content in regional areas.