The Australian parliament has passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code that addresses the bargaining power imbalance between publishers and digital platforms.

The code was developed after extensive analysis from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), including almost three years of public consultation, and ensures that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for the content they generate, helping to sustain public interest journalism in Australia.

“The code provides a framework for good faith negotiations between the parties and a fair and balanced arbitration process to resolve outstanding disputes,” according to a statement from Paul Fletcher, minister of communications, urban infrastructure, cities and the arts.

The code encourages parties to undertake commercial negotiations outside the Code and the Government is pleased to see progress by both Google and more recently Facebook in reaching commercial arrangements with Australian news media businesses.

The new aw requires sites like Facebook and Google to pay media companies for news content. If a deal can’t be reached, the parties would have to abide by the decision of an independent arbitrator.

Publishers will now have more time to negotiate with the platforms before going to arbitration and, if negotiations fail, the platforms will be able to block content.

Last week, Facebook blocked news content in Australia but backtracked a few days later.