Showing posts with label ABC television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ABC television. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Murdoch has managed to deprive NSW Northern Rivers region of most of its local print newspapers & now Morrison is attacking our most reliable news source, the ABC


The Age, 25 June 2020: 

ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has lashed out at Communications Minister Paul Fletcher over the Morrison government's handling of its multimillion-dollar budget cuts and accused him of lying about the national broadcaster's efforts to collaborate with SBS. 

In a fresh war of words between the taxpayer-funded broadcaster and the Coalition government, Ms Buttrose has accused Mr Fletcher of twice failing to provide the ABC board and management with the critical data that informed an independent report proposing the closure of two broadcast channels and the sharing of back-office and support services with fellow public broadcaster SBS. 

Ms Buttrose has also said the government misrepresented the ABC's efforts to work closer with SBS. In a strongly-worded letter to Mr Fletcher, seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms Buttrose said the ABC's board had asked her to "convey its concerns" about Mr Fletcher's lack of response to correspondence between the pair in September last year. 

"We raised a number of issues but were particularly interested in seeing 'the information - data, models and assumptions - which formed the basis for the savings estimates provided in the report'," Ms Buttrose wrote. "I appreciate you have a busy schedule but we would appreciate an answer to our queries." 

Ms Buttrose said several media reports, which ABC management believes were informed by Mr Fletcher, had suggested the ABC "had neglected to 'collaborate more closely with SBS'". 

"This is incorrect," Ms Buttrose wrote. "David Anderson has had several conversations with SBS about sharing costs". 

A Peter Tonagh-led review of the public broadcasters was handed to the Morrison government in March last year, but its details were kept confidential as the ABC developed plans to cut costs. Some recommendations - such as an increased focus on digital growth, improving the ABC's iview platform and reducing investment in products that are not central to the ABC charter - were effectively adopted in the plan announced yesterday, but an ABC spokesman said that if all had been implemented there would have been more cuts. 

In the September correspondence between the pair, Ms Buttrose said the board said several proposals in the review "lack enough detail to allow an evaluation of whether the suggested savings can be realised". 

"In some cases, the savings estimates are presented in aggregate for the two national broadcasters and it is unclear what proportion of them has been attributed to the ABC, rather than SBS," she said. 

In particular, the review estimates that the national broadcasters could together save "a minimum of $45 million" by reducing multichannel services and "between $80 million and $115 million per annum" through focusing expenditure on what it characterises as "core" activities and a greater focus on digital delivery. 

"However, it provides no information as to how these figures were derived or the proportions attributed to the ABC," she said. Sources said Ms Buttrose had also raised the issue with Mr Fletcher at a face-to-face meeting between the pair at ABC's Ultimo headquarters on Tuesday. 

Mr Fletcher and Prime Minister Scott Morrison staunchly defended the level of funding provided to the ABC, insisting the government has not cut its budget, and backed the national broadcaster's efforts to be more focused on regional and suburban Australia. "There are no cuts ... the ABC's funding is increasing every year," Mr Morrison said on Thursday. "The ABC would be the only media company or organisation in Australia today whose revenue, their funding, is increasing. It would be the only one in the country. We are seeing regional mastheads by commercial newspapers abolished." 

The ABC announced a range of cuts on Wednesday, including 250 job losses and the end of the 7.45am radio news bulletin, in a bid to save $40 million until 2022. Managing director David Anderson also announced plans to cut poor-performing content, reduce episodes of Australian Story and Foreign Correspondent and lease space at the ABC's Sydney headquarters in Ultimo. The measures triggered a wave of criticism about the funding squeeze imposed on the broadcaster by the Coalition in recent federal budgets.

ABC News, 27 June 2020: 

The ABC put forward two separate proposals offering to open more regional Australian studios, expand its coverage of remote communities and hire more journalists in rural areas in return for the federal government dumping its decision to freeze annual funding indexation. 

Correspondence between ABC managing director David Anderson and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher and seen by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, show the national broadcaster was prepared to invest tens of millions of dollars more outside capital city centres if the Morrison government was prepared to reverse its budget cuts. 

In a proposal made after the Black Summer bushfires in January, ABC management told Mr Fletcher the national broadcaster would be able to find $10 million a year to employ more regional journalists if indexation was restored

Mr Anderson's letter, sent to Mr Fletcher on January 24, said he was writing to ask the government to consider a reversal of the indexation pause, which is expected to cost the broadcaster up to $84 million over three years, to safeguard the future sustainability of the ABC. 

"If indexation was restored, combined with savings and efficiencies that the ABC has identified in recent months, the Corporation would be in a position to commit an additional investment of up to $10 million per annum to employ more journalists in regional Australia and generate more content from regions for the local and national stories," Mr Anderson wrote. 

Several government sources have confirmed Mr Fletcher did not reply to the letter, nor did he discuss the proposal with the ABC or his National Party colleagues, who have constantly raised concerns over the future of regional media outlets, following a spate of natural disasters including last summer's fires.... [my yellow highting]

The Saturday Paper, 27 June 2020: 

Two days before the ABC confirmed that up to 250 jobs will be cut across the organisation, the federal government finalised a $200,000 offer for consultants to prepare a report on news and media business models looking specifically at the impact of public broadcasters “on commercial operators”. 

An approach to market for the report was closed on Monday, with the federal Communications Department under minister Paul Fletcher requesting the successful bidder evaluate failed, successful and emerging news media operating models from around the world. 

As it happens, a key requirement of the research, due before the end of August, is also a hobby horse of the ABC’s commercial rivals. 

The tender asks consultants to examine “the role of publicly-funded (non-commercial) media organisations in the production and dissemination of news and media content in the comparable jurisdictions, and the impacts and interactions of publicly-funded entities with commercial operators”. 

This is the argument News Corp makes against the ABC: that it is cutting into the audiences of commercial enterprises such as Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, websites and pay television business. 

“The report will be used as an input to inform policy advice and decision-making in relation to the news and media sectors. The end-users of the report include Commonwealth officials, relevant Ministers, and their staff,” the tender documents say. 

“The report is not intended for public release.”......

BACKGROUND

ABC News, 26 June 2029: 

The ABC has not only helped shape Australia, we are the national voice that unites us. 

It’s about democracy. Without the ABC we would have a balkanised and parochial bunch of broadcasters that are in danger of being compromised by profit and more intent on dividing than unifying. 

Imagine what it would be like during the bushfire season if we had to rely only on state-based or even regionally based media outlets. When we are in the middle of bushfires, don’t we want to know that they are being covered by a knowledgeable and experienced network of journalists with all the supporting infrastructure of a large national network? 

The ABC, funded by all of us, regardless of our creed – race, age, political beliefs – is us. It’s the way we build cross-cultural understanding, the way we help each other in times of need. It’s who we are collectively. Why would anyone want to diminish that and make us less than who we are? 

This has been a devastating week for the ABC. With unemployment at an all-time high to have to inform up to 250 people they no longer had a job has been an incredibly difficult task. 

Cuts to services caused by the ongoing reduction in our budget forced this action upon us and although we knew what had to be done, our hearts were with our employees. 

Let me clarify the cuts because there seems to be some confusion in Government circles about them. The 2018 Budget papers clearly state that the Government’s savings measures reduce funding to the ABC by $14.623 million in 2019-20, $27.842 million in 2020-21, and $41.284 million in 2021-22. This reduction totals $83.75 million on our operational base. 

It is true that over the three years the ABC budget does still increase but by a reduced amount, due to indexation on the fixed cost of transmission and distribution services. Previously, it was rising by a further $83.75 million over the same three years for indexation on our operational base. This is the funding that has been cut and considered a saving by the government. 

These funding cuts are unsustainable if we are to provide the media services that Australians expect of us. Indexation must be renewed. 

The strength of the ABC and its relationship with the nation comes from the very people who work for us. They are passionate about public broadcasting and are prepared to work for less than they would be paid by commercial media to deliver it. The creativity in the programs they produce, the dogged and independent journalism they pursue and the connection with communities everywhere they provide through conversations is at the very heart of what the ABC delivers to our audiences. 

The ABC has a statutory requirement to operate as efficiently as possible. We have a strong track record in identifying savings and reinvesting them in services. This is how we created ABC News 24, ABC iview and a range of packages to boost services in rural and regional Australia. 

There is no other authority better placed to manage the ABC than the ABC itself. We know our business and we are determined to honour our commitment to independence. All Australians expect this of us just as they expect the Government to provide the appropriate funds to allow us to do so. 

The ABC is essential in generating and preserving Australia’s democratic culture. An independent, well-funded national broadcaster allows Australians, wherever they live, to connect. It is how we share our identity, how we tell our stories, how we listen to each other, how we ask for help and how we give it. 

 Ita Buttrose AC OBE 
 ABC Chair

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Quality of Australian television & radio will take a dive under a re-elected Morrison Government



The ABC is facing "inevitable" job cuts and programming disruption if the Morrison government is returned to power, the national broadcaster's new managing director has warned.

In his first interview in the new job, David Anderson told Radio National's Patricia Karvelas that planning for two possible budget scenarios was at the top of his to-do list, after establishing a new leadership team.

One of those options is a budget in which the ABC's indexation funding is frozen for the next three years.

"If the Coalition is returned, then we have an $84 million budget reduction over the next three years," Mr Anderson said.

"Having been through a number of budget reductions to this point, I don’t see how we can avoid staff cuts and, I think, disruption to our content. I think it’s inevitable."
None of the options available for finding $84 million in savings were great, he said.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

OUR ABC: the fate of public broadcasting is in your hands at the 2019 federal election


Use your vote wisely.......

abc.net.au, 23 October 2018:

Statement by David Anderson, Acting Managing Director of the ABC, to the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee 

Thank you Senators. 

I am appearing today as Acting Managing Director of the ABC. It is a privilege to be in this role, overseeing one of Australia’s most loved and respected cultural institutions. 

There is no doubt Senators will have many questions about recent events and strategies. I will do my best to answer them in my acting capacity and from my management position. Accountability is part and parcel of being a national broadcaster. 

So too is independence. I have already stressed in my early conversations with employees that the great faith and trust the community invests in the ABC is built on the foundation of independence. 

The ABC is funded by government and it is ultimately answerable to the people of Australia. They are the ones who expect us to report without fear or favour, to live up to standards of quality and excellence, to shun commercial and other agendas, to hold the national conversations and to reflect the nation back to itself. 

The other absolute I have, as a long-term content manager within the Corporation, is the primacy of content. Across the ABC’s history we have been adept at using technology to improve the ways we bring our programs and services to our audiences. 

Even in my time at the national broadcaster, the distribution platforms and channels we use have changed dramatically. They will need to change even more over the next decade as we seek relevance and reach in a challenging digital media landscape. 

But it is the content that we carry on those platforms that ultimately matters. 

 Vibrant new kids’ programs that delight and educate our children; 

 Agenda-setting journalism that shines a light into dark corners and holds regulators and lawmakers to account; 

 The rich, direct and often lifesaving conversations we have with our regional and rural audiences; 

 The insightful work of Radio National; 

 Our commitment to the promotion and support of cultural endeavours, particularly music, the arts and creative communities; 

 Colourful dramas like Mystery Road that use local actors, local crews, local locations and local stories to entertain us; 

 And our ability to unite the nation, whether it be on Australia Day, the approaching Remembrance Day/Armistice celebrations or through our in-depth coverage of the drought; 

 And this week, of course, the Invictus Games. 

It is the distinctive content that makes the ABC unique and a priceless national asset. 

While the recent weeks have been testing, I am very proud of the passion and energy shown by our 4000 employees. They have not been distracted. They remain committed to serving Australians. 

As the Acting Managing Director, my early objective has been to work with the Board, bring stability to the organisation, demonstrate leadership and to press for the resourcing we need to deliver the Charter remit and the services the community expects. 

I note there has been a lot of talk recently about ABC budgets and future demands. I would like to bring these facts to the table: 

 20 per cent of the ABC Budget is actually fixed costs for transmission – the infrastructure that delivers our programs to audiences across the nation. 

 The $84 million efficiency cut over three years comes on top of the 2014 decision to cut the ABC budget by $250 million over five years. The cumulative impact of these measures is a significant reduction in our operating budget at a time when we are facing rising costs of production and the need to increase our investment in digital products. 

 We have been given no certainty about the future of funding for a program that directly employs 81 journalists, including specialist reporters and outer suburban bureaus such as Geelong, Parramatta and Ipswich. 

As a long-serving content manager and leader, I can personally attest to the financial pressures affecting the Corporation. I can vouch for the efforts of management to maximise every dollar spent on audiences and to plough efficiency savings into content. 

I am making it clear to stakeholders that the next triennial funding round, scheduled for resolution in next year’s Budget, should be used as an opportunity to reposition the ABC for the future. 

If the ABC is important now in bringing diversity to the media landscape, then it will be even more essential over coming years in providing quality, independent, local content to Australians. The ABC will be the innovator. We will provide the creative jobs that are necessary for this new era. We will continue to provide the highest quality independent journalism. 

Thank you. I am happy to take questions.

Twitter, 24 October 2018:







Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Oi, Scott Morrison! Hands off, it's not your ABC



Friday, 31 August 2018

Will the Australian Government continue its policy of harrassment and intimidation in relation to Australia's national public broadcaster?


This was the situation before Malcolm Turnbull was politically beheaded by the hard right of the Liberal Party and Scott Morrison installed as the new Australian Prime Minister.....

Lenore Taylor is Guardian Australia's editor. She has won two Walkley awards and has twice won the Paul Lyneham award for excellence in press gallery journalism.

She has been a journalist for over thirty years and covered federal politics for over twenty-two years. 

Despite being invited onto the ABC "Insiders" program as a political journalist and editor, she found that pressure appeared to have been placed on that program to remove its video of her one of comments from its Twitter feed.



The Great Barrier Reef Foundation denies there was any prior due diligence conducted concerning the $487,633,300.00 grant.


“We had to certainly demonstrate value for money and our track record,” she said.

Once this particular cat was out of the bag ABC "Insiders" decided on 360 degree change of direction or suddenly remembered what being an independent public broadcaster actually means - readers can make up their own minds as to motive.

Remembering that as federal treasurer Scott Morrison led the charge to savagely cut ABC funding, the question that needs answering now is "Will he continue to bash the ABC by allowing minsters to apply inappropriate pressure on management and staff to alter editorial decisions?"

The real reason Turnbull gave the Great Barrier Reef Foundation $487.6 million with few strings attached and a short deadline on the spend

The Saturday Paper, 18-24 August 2018:

Picture the scene: three men in a room, two of them offering the third the deal of a lifetime.

The pair say they will give the man’s little outfit – which has assets of only about $3 million, turnover of less than $8 million and just a handful of staff – a $444 million contract, under terms yet to be negotiated. The offer comes out of a clear blue sky, totally unsolicited by the lucky recipient. For this little organisation, it is like winning the lottery, except they didn’t even buy a ticket.

Such a deal would be exceptional, even in the corporate world. It would have been exceptional even if the pair making the offer had been, say, investment bankers, and the third man the head of a tech start-up.

But they weren’t. Two of them were the prime minister of Australia and his environment minister, and the third was the chairman of a charitable organisation called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. All three do have backgrounds as bankers, however: Malcolm Turnbull, Josh Frydenberg and the foundation’s John Schubert worked with Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Commonwealth Bank respectively.

The question is why it was done this way. Why solicit this little organisation, of which most people would never have heard, to be the recipient of the biggest such grant ever made in Australia? Why was the money given without tender and without any prior grant proposal? Why, instead of providing the money a bit at a time, subject to satisfactory performance as assessed on an annual or biannual basis, was six years’ worth of funding provided in one lump on June 28, less than three months after that first meeting?

Geoff Cousins thinks he knows the answer.

Cousins is a former president of the Australian Conservation Foundation. Perhaps more importantly, he is a corporate boardroom heavyweight. For 10 years, he was an adviser to John Howard.

“It’s a most cynical piece of accounting trickery,” he says of the Barrier Reef grant. 

“A piece of chicanery. That’s the only way I can describe it.”

To explain why, he traces back several years, to the government’s desperate attempts to persuade UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, that it was a good steward of the Great Barrier Reef, and that the reef World Heritage area should not be declared to be “in danger”.

To that end, the government had promised, under its Reef 2050 Plan, to invest more than $700 million in measures to protect one of the world’s great natural wonders.
“For the Department of the Environment and Energy to grant over $440 million to a small charity that didn’t even prepare an application form or ask for the grant is inconceivable!”

“They made a commitment, the Australian government, to the World Heritage listing committee, to spend $716 million on the Barrier Reef, prior to 2020,” Cousins says. 

“But they have spent just a fraction of that, and there is no way that in the remaining 18 months or less that they can reach that target, which raises the potential of the reef being put on the endangered list.”

In Cousins’s view, someone must have realised the trouble the government faced in meeting its spending targets on time. His guess is Frydenberg.

“Even if you started now, you couldn’t actually spend that money. There’s not a list, not a pipeline of projects approved and ready to go,” Cousins says.

“So Malcolm, then putting on … his business head, his accounting head, says ‘Well, all we’ve really got to do is make sure the money moves from the government’s accounts to the bank account of some other private or not-for-profit institution, then the money is spent.’ But the money hasn’t really been spent at all. Even the CEO of the foundation says it won’t all be spent for six years.”

If you tried that kind of dodge in the corporate world, Cousins says, “your accounting firm would say … they would have to qualify your accounts”.

Cousins makes a very strong circumstantial case. It is true the federal government has grossly underspent on its UNESCO commitment, and that the money given to the reef foundation will go much of the way to making good on that funding promise.

It is true also that UNESCO has become increasingly critical of the government’s performance protecting the reef. Last year’s meeting of the World Heritage Committee noted in particular that progress on achieving water-quality targets was too slow to meet the agreed time frame. As it happens, the largest single item on the reef foundation’s to-do list is improving water quality, with $201 million allocated to it.

Read the full aticle here.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Peter Chapman's stint as editor of The Queensland Times is catching up with him


Peter Chapman first swam into public view as a Channel 10 sports editor, commentator and presenter in the late 1980s.

He left after ten years to work for Canberra Raiders NRL Club and the New Zealand Breakers basketball team.

He re-entered journalism in 2006 and stayed with APN News and Media for ten and a half years as editor first of The Daily Examiner, then the Fraser Coast Chronicle and finally The Queensland Times.

He quietly slipped out of journalism again in November 2016 when he went to work for Leda Holdings, a property development and investment company, as its Marketing and Media Manager. Presumably the new owner of APN's regional newspapers, News Corp, or Peter himself thought they would not be a good match.

Unfortunately for Peter his abrasive style as an editor meant that his journalistic 'sins' rarely go unnoticed and, on 28 May 2018 ABC TV "Media Watch" program finally featured his time covering Ipswich politics in QueenslandWith the program's presenter discussing the latest revelations of corruption in Queensland, and how a huge local story mysteriously went missing in the media.

As the Clarence Valley, home to The Daily Examiner, was never enamoured with his divisive, sometimes biased reporting, locals were quick to point out that "Media Watch" was doing a third segment on Peter.

Who could forget the first two, Peter as the the leaker in 1999 or as the sporting chauvanist in 2009

These are some of the program snapshots that were sent to me with the comment - "It was classic Chapman"!





How a journalist working with him at the time assesed the situation.


On Wednesday 2 May 2018 the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) charged Ipswich Mayor Antoniolli, former mayor Paul Pisasale, two council CEOs and eight other council staff with sixty-six charges of corruption.

Peter Chapman is probably still wiping the egg off his face.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

A call to arms in support of Our ABC


The Guardian, 17 May 2018:

The announcement in last week’s budget that the ABC’s funding indexation will be frozen for three years from July 2019 is the latest in a series of extraordinary attacks by a government that displays an unprecedented level of hostility to the national broadcaster. It represents a real cut to the broadcaster’s operating costs of $84m.

Added to the $254m cut over five years announced by then-communications minister Malcolm Turnbull in November 2014, and a $28m cut to the enhanced newsgathering service in the 2016 budget, this brings the money taken out of our national broadcaster since the election of the Coalition government to over a quarter of a billion dollars.

Contrast this with the former Labor government’s approach. In 2009, when I worked in the office of communications minister Stephen Conroy, the ABC was awarded the largest funding increase since its incorporation in 1983, with $136.4m in new money to fund the creation of the ABC Kids’ channel and 90 hours of new Australian drama. Four years later, the ABC was given $89.4m to set up the newsgathering service and enhance the digital delivery of ABC programs.

In addition to record funding boosts, Conroy, arguably the best friend in government the ABC has ever had, also ensured the ABC charters were amended to specifically require them to deliver digital services; overhauled the board appointment process to put it at arm’s length from the government of the day; and, in a move that enraged the Murdoch empire, created legislation that specified that any international broadcasting service funded by the government could only be delivered by the ABC. This came after the government’s refusal to award carriage of the Australia Network to News Corp in 2011, a decision that was regarded both at home and internationally as common sense by everyone other than the owners of Sky News.

All this is now under attack. The Turnbull government seems determined not only to undo every measure of financial and legislative support implemented by the last Labor government, but to undermine the ABC’s operations so thoroughly that its ability to provide the services its charter requires will likely be devastated.

The legislation passed in early 2013 prevented the incoming Coalition government from reopening the tender process to award the Australia Network to Sky – so they shut it down entirely instead.

Five years later, the Lowy Institute laments that “[o]nce a significant player in what the British Council calls the Great Game of the Airwaves, the ABC’s purpose-designed, multiplatform international services have suffered near-terminal decline”.

"We must rise up against this concerted campaign of funding cuts and attempts to limit the activities of our national broadcasters"

As far as the board appointment process goes, Turnbull as prime minister and his communications minister Mitch Fifield are doing their best to ignore it: two recent appointees, Minerals Council boss Vanessa Guthrie and Sydney Institute Director Joseph Gersh, were not recommended for appointment by the independent selection panel. Fifield is relying on clauses in the legislation governing the appointment process that allow the minister to appoint from outside the recommended list in exceptional circumstances, but has publicly offered no reason why these candidates were more urgently required on the ABC board than those recommended as more qualified by the selection panel.

It’s also impossible to discover whether the minister has tabled the statement to parliament giving his reasons for ignoring the advice of the selection panel, as required by the legislation. If he has, perhaps those statements explain why Guthrie and Gersh are the most qualified candidates to provide governance of our most trusted source of news.

Despite the selection criteria set out in Conroy’s legislation, the ABC board now includes no one other than the staff-elected director and the managing director, Michelle Guthrie, with media experience and, despite the full board having been appointed by this government, they seem unable to make a case to maintain the ABC’s funding.

But the biggest danger to the ABC is the government’s agenda to reduce its digital services, and it’s here where the ABC – and, in this case, SBS as well – face a truly existential threat. The so-called “competitive neutrality inquiry” into the national broadcasters, currently underway, has ostensibly been launched to satisfy Pauline Hanson’s demands for an inquiry into the ABC in return for her support for last year’s appalling package of media “reforms”, which will reduce diversity and local content across the commercial broadcast media.

Don’t believe it for a second. While Hanson’s hatred of the ABC will assist any future government moves to neuter the broadcaster’s digital activities, this inquiry is yet another gift to News Corp and the commercial media organisations, who have been baying for the ABC’s blood since it arrived on the airwaves more than three-quarters of a century ago.

The $30m of government money given, apparently with few strings attached, to Foxtel last year was really just “compensation” for the fact that the commercial TV operators got a windfall gain with the abolition of their broadcast licence fees and replacement with spectrum fees. This saves the broadcasters around $90m per year (money which is forgone government revenue, by the way) so, of course, Foxtel had to be similarly rewarded for … running a commercial business in a competitive market.

Read the full article here.

North Coast Voices12 May 2018,"Time to show support for the ABC"

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Time to show support for the ABC


The situation in 2018.......

The Guardian, 8 May 2018:

Dear colleagues,

The government has tonight announced it will freeze the ABC’s annual funding indexation for three years from July 2019, which will cost the organisation $84m. This will be compounded by the decision to cease a further $43m in funding to support quality news and current affairs services and follows the cumulative $254m in cuts imposed since 2014.

This decision comes at a critical time for us. As you are all aware from our conversations following this year’s annual public meeting, we are at a watershed moment as a public broadcaster as we continue to strive to deliver the high standards of programming Australian audiences expect, despite escalating global competition and rising production costs.

Let me be frank with you: I am very disappointed and concerned that after the measures we have introduced in recent years to deliver better and more efficient services, the government has now seen fit to deliver what amounts to a further substantial budget cut. This decision will make it very difficult for the ABC to meet its charter requirements and audience expectations.

However, we will continue to pursue our strategy during triennial funding negotiations with the government this year to achieve the proper levels of funding we require to meet the expectations of not only our current audiences but those of the next generation.

Our priorities have and always will be to our audiences and the programming we create for them. Our success in this is a tribute to the talent, dedication and high-quality work of our teams right across the country and the world.

Our public interest journalism, breaking news coverage and independent analysis are highly valued by the community, including across regional Australia. The drama, comedy and children’s content we deliver every hour are likewise important to the cultural life of the country. And services like triple j, RN and ABC Local remain crucial channels for audiences everywhere to join the national conversation.

Unfortunately, the government has overlooked this contribution and the trust and value more than 80% of Australians place in us as an independent national broadcaster.
In a statement in response I have made clear this decision will have an impact on our audiences.

We will continue to oppose the decision and seek every opportunity to reverse the cuts in the coming months before they take effect.

Michelle Guthrie

Abc.net.au, Statement, 8 May 2018:

The Government’s decision to freeze the ABC’s indexation from July 2019 will cost the broadcaster $84 million over three years and will be compounded by the decision to cease a further $43 million in funding to support quality news and current affairs services.

This decision comes at a critical time for the ABC as it commences triennial funding negotiations with the Government and comes on top of a cumulative $254 million in cuts imposed since 2014.

The ABC’s independence and its commitment to in-depth analysis and commentary has never been more valued or trusted by Australian audiences, nor so critical to the challenges facing the nation.

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie said the impact of the decision could not be absorbed by efficiency measures alone, as the ABC had already achieved significant productivity gains in response to past budget cuts.

“The ABC is now more important than ever given the impact of overseas players in the local media industry and the critical role the ABC plays as Australia’s most trusted source of news, analysis and investigative journalism,” Ms Guthrie said.

“Our talented and dedicated content makers consistently deliver award winning public interest journalism, regional services and critically acclaimed original Australian programs and content.

“Stable, adequate funding is essential if we are to continue to deliver for Australian audiences.”

The ABC’s long-term strategy published at an Annual Public Meeting in February 2018 outlines the broadcaster’s plan to respond to changing audience expectations, and to remain as relevant in the future as it always has been in the past.

The ABC will continue to negotiate its funding requirements with the Government to ensure it can deliver on this commitment to a future which ensures the ABC remains relevant in the digital age.

Ms Guthrie also rejected as unnecessary the proposed efficiency review given efficiency programs introduced by the ABC in recent years.

Time to pick up that pen and object to this funding freeze........

Prime Minister Hon. Malcolm Bligh Turnbull MP
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 7700
FAX: (02) 6273 4100

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Michael McCormack MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
PH: 02) 6277 7520

Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts Senator Hon. Mitch Fifield
Parliament House
Canberra, ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 7480
EMAIL: Minister@communications.gov.au

Minister for Regional Communications Senator Hon. Bridget McKenzie
PO Box 6100
Senate
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
PH: (02) 6277 3200
FAX: (02) 6277 5755

Local MPs by Electorate contact details here.