Former News Corp and Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh has been appointed to head the federal government’s efficiency review of the public broadcasters the ABC and SBS.
In May, the communications minister, Mitch Fifeld, announced an efficiency review of both SBS and the ABC following the federal government’s decision to freeze the ABC’s funding, announced in the May budget, until 2022.
Tonagh will head the review alongside Media Authority acting chairman Richard Bean. Last February, Tonagh was replaced as Foxtel chief by Patrick Delaney in February. In April he resurfaced as CEO of a new consortium, known as Australian Visa Processing, that managed investors and corporate players who were in the running for a lucrative tech design contract.
It’s understood the review does not include plans to privatise either broadcaster or introduce advertising to the ABC or paywalls to its digital offerings.
In a statement sent to media, Fifeld said: “The ABC and SBS are vital public news and cultural institutions that are an important underpinning of media diversity and represent a major Commonwealth contribution to civic journalism.
“In the fast-evolving world of media organisations, it is important to support our public broadcasters to be the best possible stewards of taxpayer dollars in undertaking their important work for the community. In the May budget the government announced a review to support the organisations to identify best public broadcasting practice.”