Following the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which remains Australia’s national broadcaster, was informed of a funding squeeze by the Australian Government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has strongly defended the Government’s decision to make funding changes to the ABC’s budget while denying that cuts were being made. Prime Minister Morrison has revealed that the ABC’s budget was continuing to increase and will continue to rise in the future. However, the ABC will be forced to cut 250 staff along with other internal projects, in what will cost the organisation close to $84 million.
Cutting funds to any state-sponsored institution is always controversial. However, there’s no denying that the ABC has been criticised in recent years for an apparent left-leaning political bias. More conservative commentators have argued that the ABC has lost touch with the thoughts of working-class Australia, primarily regional and suburban Aussie views.
However, at the same time, the cuts to the ABC have been criticised by other political commentators, including Labor communications spokeswoman, Michelle Rowland. Indeed, Rowland criticised the Morrison Government’s announcement about the ABC arguing that it was the wrong time for funding cuts and that it would have a demonstrable impact on other struggling sectors, like film.
What changes can we expect from the ABC?
The managing director of the ABC, David Anderson, has announced an audacious five-year plan designed to help refocus the ABC. One of the primary measures of the new program will see more than 75% of ABC staff relocated to regions outside of the company’s headquarters in Ultimo. The belief is that this will give content producers a renewed focus on distinctly regional concerns.
Prime Minister Morrison applauded the new efforts from the ABC, suggesting it was necessary for staff to “get their heads out of Ultimo”.