Australia’s public broadcaster, the ABC, has outlined how it will cut $254 million out of its budget in line with reforms set by the current government.
Announced today by the broadcaster’s managing director, Mark Scott, over 400 jobs will be facing “potential redundancy” over the coming months.
In addition to job losses, the ABC’s production studio in Adelaide will close, and programming in smaller states will begin to wind down.
Regional radio stations in Wagin, Morwell, Gladstone, Port Augusta and Nowra will be closed, and a “restructuring” of ABC’s foreign bureaux around the world will be implemented.
Sports broadcasting will also be seeing a downsize, and programming across a number of the ABC’s radio stations is set to change as well.
The cuts have been met with public outcry and protests have been held in major cities across the nation, attended by various members of Parliament from Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, to Senator for the Greens, Scott Ludlam.
“Our national Government is attacking our national voice,“ Bill Shorten said at one of the protests held in Melbourne over the weekend.
“We are in a fight to support the ABC in every city and every town, in every street and every house.”
As a counterpoint, a column published in the Sydney Morning Herald today by former manager of ABC’s Radio National, Louise Evans, says that the ABC has some pockets that could do with a bit of emptying.
“While other media organisations live and die by their ratings, circulation and readership figures, some ABC programmers considered ratings irrelevant. Some producers strongly resisted editorial oversight and locked in segments that lacked editorial rigour and relevance…The weekly Media Report went to air discussing foreign press freedoms while hundreds of Australian journalists were being made redundant just down the road.
“The RN budget was another shock. It was predominantly tied up in wages for 150 people. There was precious little budget to do anything new or innovative and you couldn’t turn any program off, no matter how high its costs and how poor its audience share and reach.”
Australia’s other public broadcaster, the SBS, will also be facing cuts to the tune of $25.2 million over the next five years.
Article by Jacob Gillard