The ABC has found itself in a world of pain upon the hearing proposed Budget cuts to the broadcaster.
Tuesday’s Budget included an $84 million cut to the ABC, which will be carried out through a freeze on the broadcaster’s “indexing”.
Now, ABC MD Michelle Guthrie, news director Gaven Morris and multiple senators have commented on the broadcaster’s future.
Guthrie, for one, told ABC staff the broadcaster’s execs would “oppose the decision and seek every opportunity to reverse the cuts in the coming months before they take effect”.
Adding, “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.”
“Unfortunately, the government has overlooked this contribution and the trust and value more than 80 per cent of Australians place in us as an independent national broadcaster,” Guthrie said.
Meanwhile, Morris threatened the possibility of a cut to regional newsrooms, as well as a team of specialist investigative reporters.
Speaking to staff, Morris said, “Those services include regional newsgathering resources and suburban news bureaus in Geelong, Ipswich, Gosford and Parramatta, the ABC Investigations team, the Specialist Reporting Team, the RMIT ABC Fact Check unit and roles in every state and territory newsroom.”
“Initially, the funding was $20 million but already, $6.5 million was cut two years ago. Now, the government has chosen to discontinue the rest of it from June 30, 2019.”
“Resourcing decisions will be assessed ABC-wide, taking into account all of our organisational resources and priorities and those across News,” he added.
Though, not everyone is onside.
Speaking on the cuts, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said, “The ABC is highly privileged and its entitlement mentality is starting to wear thin.”
“More seriously the intemperate threats from the ABC highlights the partisan nature of the ABC and the attitude it will take to the budget and the next election which is hardly that of an independent taxpayer-funded national broadcaster,” he said.
Liberal MP Craig Kelly added, “All media organisations have had to endure cuts so why should the ABC be immune? To have such a generous budget and the increases they have enjoyed over the last decade makes it very difficult to see what they are complaining about.”
Some of the ABC’s own is taking the news a little more light-heartedly.
The social media team from ABC’s Gruen Transfer have taken it upon themselves to provide some comic relief during the budget fiasco over Twitter.
— The Gruen Team (@GruenHQ) May 9, 2018
— ༄ ʝσɖïε༻ (@LoveThoseTiges) May 9, 2018
— The Gruen Team (@GruenHQ) May 9, 2018
However, ABC has found support in the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), who yesterday made a statement on the cuts, labelling them “dangerous and irresponsible”,
In the statement, the industry body said, “The Federal Budget’s cut of $127 million from the ABC represents a dangerous and irresponsible assault on public broadcasting in Australia.”
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