The ABC has been told it must enforce a six-month wage freeze, to bring the broadcaster in line with other government agencies, according to The Guardian.
The government announced last month it would be deferring general wage increases to commonwealth public servants for six months.
However, the ABC did not table a clear response to the announcement, leaving communications minister Paul Fletcher [feature image] to step in.
In a letter to ABC managing director David Anderson, Fletcher pointed to the impact COVID-19 has had on the rest of the Australian media.
A six-month wage pause would be a “highly appropriate gesture of solidarity” to the rest of the Australian media, Fletcher said.
Fletcher told the ABC he expects it to explore “all options” in order to deliver the six-month wage freeze.
The MEAA the Community and Public Sector Union are expected to resist the move.
It follows a steady stream of budget cuts at the ABC, most notably a $84 million indexation pause imposed by the government in 2018.
The ABC was last year told it must find $41m in ongoing savings by the 2021/22 financial year, leaving some to suggest the broadcaster looks into selling off its Ultimo headquarters.
According to the ABC, these cuts are hitting even harder, as the cost of production continues to go up.
“The ABC faces a challenging operating environment,” Anderson told a Senate estimates hearing last year.
“Production costs of making quality Australian content are rising rapidly…the competition for audience attention is intense as global media giants like Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Apple threaten to drown out Australian voices and stories.”
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