Job cuts ahead for ABC: TurnbullOn 01/31/2019 by admin
Jobs are to go at the ABC as the national broadcaster works out how it will operate with $254 million less in government funding over the next four years.
The lower than expected cut is 4.6 per cent of the ABC’s four-year budget and means it will now get $5.2 billion over that period rather than $5.5 billion.
SBS will also have to tighten its belt with Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirming it will lose $53.7 million.
But unlike the ABC, SBS will likely recover $28.5 million under new rules that allow it to run more advertising – a decision that has angered commercial broadcasters.
Mr Turnbull said it was inevitable jobs would go.
“Let’s be quite clear: the savings that the government is requiring of the ABC will result in a number of job losses,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
In a shot aimed at the management of both broadcasters, Mr Turnbull said it would be “cowardly” for them to blame the cuts for any programming changes.
“The savings I’m announcing today are not of a scale that requires any particular change to programming,” he said.
An independent review, commissioned by the government, pointed to operational efficiencies available to both broadcasters.
But there are concerns the ABC especially will look at cutting programs to make up for the funding shortfall.
The union representing ABC workers said there was no way the cuts could be confined to back-office functions.
“It is frankly gutless of Malcolm Turnbull to shun responsibility for these cuts and pass the buck to ABC management,” Community and Public Sector Union president Michael Tull said.
Mr Turnbull is recommending the ABC hire a “fiercely” independent chief financial officer and wants the board to split the role of editor-in-chief and managing director.
ABC boss Mark Scott said the government was providing no additional funding for the cost of “inevitable redundancies”.
The ABC would seek to serve audiences and protect content wherever possible, he said.
Mr Scott will brief staff via a national hook-up next Monday after the executive finalises where to make savings.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid said the ability to generate more revenue would help secure the broadcaster’s future without compromising content.
The efficiency review found SBS earned significantly less from advertising than would be expected for a commercial broadcaster with the same audience share.
But Nine Network chief executive David Gyngell said the move could cost commercial broadcasters $40 million a year in lost ad revenue.
Free TV chairman Harold Mitchell said the decision would be felt hardest in regional areas.
“Any further erosion of our revenue base will inevitably impact on broadcasters’ ability to continue their record investment in quality Australian content,” he said.
Labor says the cuts add to a pile of broken promises from Tony Abbott with the prime minister effectively declaring war on the ABC.
“He wants to make it less relevant,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Canberra.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has started an online petition asking the ABC board not to close its television production facilities in his home town Adelaide.
Another cabinet minister, deputy Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, is seeking assurances that regional services will not be affected by the funding cuts.