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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Liberal–National party cuts to ABC risk Australian lives

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Cuts to Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, during a time when media outlets across the country are closing and cutting staff has been roundly criticised. Concerns over the potential risk to Australian lives as a result of the cuts impacting on life-saving information during emergencies are also being raised.

Local MP Justine Elliot has joined the criticism condemning the Morrison Liberal-National government for it’s budget cuts which will lead to the loss of 250 jobs; significantly more than the 100 ongoing jobs that the Adani mining project is projected to bring to the nation as stated by Nationals MP Brigid McKenzie in 2018.

‘Labor is concerned that successive cuts to the ABC by the Liberal-National government are undermining this trusted institution,’ said Ms Elliot.

‘ABC workers and services are essential across our community. Across regional Australia, and in regions like ours on the North Coast, the ABC plays a vital role in keeping us connected with local news and emergency information.

‘From emergency broadcasting during the bushfires and floods to trusted news, education and information during the Coronavirus pandemic, we need the ABC now more than ever.

‘Since 2013 the Liberal-National government has cut millions in funding to the ABC, which has meant job cuts and a shameful drop in Australian content and services. The fact is funding cuts to the ABC under this government are more than $783 million.

‘The government ignored the ABC’s warning that the latest cut of $83.7 million will make it difficult for the ABC to meet its Charter requirements and audience expectations.’

Myall Creek, Bora Ridge Fire, November 14, 2019. Photo Ewan Willis.

Emergency broadcasts risk

This is supported by the National Rural Health Alliance, the peak body for rural health in Australia, is concerned about proposed changes to the ABC’s emergency broadcasting division.

‘The devastating bushfires this summer showed just how important the ABC is as an emergency broadcaster for people in rural Australia,’ said CEO Dr Gabrielle O’Kane.

‘People rely on the ABC for timely, accurate information about the emergency situation in their area and we don’t want to see that diminished.

‘While we acknowledge that the ABC is looking to improve their emergency broadcasting capabilities by making it more locally-focused, we are concerned about any changes that would mean that people in rural areas can’t get access to this life-saving information when an emergency comes and will be keeping a close eye on these developments.’

Dr O’Kane said that media in rural Australia was under threat more than ever and that now was the time to invest more rather than less.

‘The indexation freeze on the ABC is hitting hard and meaning that services are having to be cut – like the 7.45am news bulletin that many Australians wake up to.

‘We do applaud the ABC for wanting to focus more on local journalists and producers outside of Sydney, but when the overall amount of money isn’t increasing it’s hard to see how this will happen without services having to be cut back.

‘This also comes at a time when local newspapers are under threat. We’ve already seen News Corp having to stop printing over 100 mastheads.’

She said that regional media was very important for the health of rural, regional and remote communities.

‘Regional media allows communities to be better connected, but also provides a way for people to advocate for better health services and hold those in power to account when they don’t deliver fair and equitable health care.

‘Regional media is also a significant employer and this is needed more than ever in rural areas, especially in the wake of COVID-19. The links between stable employment and better physical and mental health are clear.

‘Also as we saw with COVID-19, regional media is an incredibly important way of delivering public health messages to communities.’

Like other offices across the nation, Brunswick Heads Centrelink was inundated by many who are in immediate need of assistance, owing to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Photo Jeff Dawson

Government cuts jobs in a recession

While the Liberal–National government continues to support businesses across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic cutting funding to the ABC appears at odds with its stated strategy to keep people in jobs.

‘Australia is now in recession and the media is in crisis yet up to 250 ABC staff now face the sack including 70 staff in the news division. These losses will further undermine the Public’s Right to Know campaign and the strength of our democracy.

‘Since 2013, and in breach of their election promise, the Liberals and Nationals have cut general ABC funding as well as reduced funding for local news gathering, including in regional Australia.

‘Labor has called on the government to reverse these cuts and will continue to hold the Liberals and Nationals to account for seven years of cuts to the ABC.

‘The ABC is a trusted public service that has been invested in and built up by generations of Australians and dedicated ABC staff. The ABC is part of our national fabric. That’s why Labor will stand up for the ABC and fight against the Morrison government’s cuts and attacks against our public broadcaster,’ Justine said.

According to a report in The Guardian last year the Adani Carmichael coal mine would not be viable without $4.4bn in government subsidies, favourable deals and tax concessions. That is $4.4bn of Australian taxpayers money to fund 100 ongoing jobs over 30 years. Compare this to the $1,045.9 million in 2018–19 of government funding for the ABC, an organisation that employs over 4,000 staff across every state and territory in Australia.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. Naturally… our lovelies in the Liberal & G’nat’s Party
    will remove jobs during a Recession & Pandemic.
    The ABC is considered as ‘dangerous’ because it
    reads the rotters like a book titled ‘know thy enemy’.
    The largest outlet in our so-called ‘free speech
    country’ is again paying the price to inform the
    Australian public – that’s what for real journalists do;
    inform after having carefully investigated all matters
    that don’t sit well with our Political cover-ups. I turn
    my back on this pagan party. No God forgives users
    & abusers.

  2. “‘The ABC is a trusted public service that has been invested in and built up by generations ”
    That is it in a nutshell, and that is why it has to go. Scumo and Murdock can’t allow factual reporting ,so the plan is starve them into submission, ( Howard has already acheived that goal ), and then destroy the whole structure . It then leaves Murdock’s fake news and the government’s NEWSPEAK as the only sources of propaganda.
    If that doesn’t work, send in the AFP (Australian Federal Political ) force
    It’s a Sick, Sad world ! G”)

  3. Well, what is it – the efficient workers of the ABC’s
    $1,045.9 million in 2018-2019 that employs 4000
    staff… or the Adani’s $4.4 Billion Dollars of tax
    -payer money for 100 jobs (ongoing?) over 30
    years??? It’s a dim-witted question. It’s where
    our tax money goes & the government – State
    & Federal – says it’s all about employment.
    Who’s pulling whose leg…

  4. Member for Page, Kevin Hogan, consistently refuses to speak up for the ABC.
    It is not as if they give him the rubbishing he deserves on 94.5.They treat him with respect he does not deserve.
    Why don’t you write to him and complain, as I have done?

  5. Hi Stefanie. The ABC losing 250 jobs is another step in the tragic decline of ‘Our ABC’. ScoNO and his ScottyfromMarketing slogans of ‘JobMaker’, JobKeepr’ exposed again as bollocks.. The agenda for the The Lying Nasty Party ( LNP ) is for uncle Rupert ‘and his SkyNews to replace ‘Our ABC’ as the national broadcaster.

  6. These recent cuts shouldn’t surprise anyone, it’s just an ongoing war the Coalition has been waging against our public broadcaster since the Howard Govt. and Gina Reinhardt decided that the ABC. had to be dismantled. The only thing that has stopped them selling it outright to date, is the fear of a public backlash. If God forbid the Coalition manages to win the next Federal election and increase their majority they will almost certainly bite the bullet and do it. There is obviously only one solution to save our ABC. and that is for everyone to put aside their petty differences and elect a Labor Govt., there is no other viable option, these right-wing Coalition lunatics have to be stopped, the longer they manage to stay in Govt. the more dangerous they become, and the harder to shift.

  7. Difficult for the ABC to meet its Charter requirements and Taxpayer’s expectations ?
    Because of a funding freeze ! Well the whole country including other Media outlets , companies,
    Organisations are doing it very tough indeed . Including the 6 thousand Qantas workers who just
    Lost there employment. Millions have !!
    Well i got some News for you ABC Board of directors!! Budget Budget budget ! The News Breakfast team .. 500k each or more ? Mr Barry
    Media Watch 9 staff for a 15 minute gig , how much is Barry earning ? About 250k . It is not a good situation that people lose there employment .
    Maybe those on huge salaries at the ABC could
    Take a pay cut and give some to the others losing there jobs ? Thats the Very charter that the ABC
    Push for Socialism !! Practice what you preach ABC. The ABC have lost the Plot ! Advertising
    That if anyone has been involved in any form of Racism please contact us . Since when have the
    ABC replaced the Human rights Commission.
    What a joke they have become !! this relentless Bias Regarding anyone
    Conservative including first people’s councillor
    In the NT .. wont give her a platform Why ?
    Conservative !! She asks why wont Reporters go out to the First people’s communities and report
    On the DV that occurs and help the custodians
    Of these lands . Oh the irony ..!!

  8. The Sheriff………….. I’ve already written to the fool.
    Joachim, I predicted Murdoch’s move a few
    years ago. The mongrel’s having a rat-sacking
    good time. The ABC’s revenue hasn’t increased
    & contrary to what some believe, it’s not a Media
    Company. SKY (Murdoch owned) is an insult to
    anyone’s intelligence. Peta Credlin & Paul Murray
    plus Andrew Bolt etc are a bleeding hearts bunch
    of nit-wits. Barrow, it’s nit-wit week. Ita Buttrose
    is on record & says the Communications Minister
    Paul Fletcher has twice failed to respond to her
    requests for critical data. [Why, Barrow]? Could it
    be that the Lib party Federal Council in June 2018
    called for the full privatisation of the ABC except for
    regional districts that are not commercially viable.
    Your ScoMo & Co are ‘the killing fields’ Barrow.
    Think on it.

  9. Media Watch, Barrow. I was familiar with ABC radio
    some time back & I know about & understand work
    ethics. You say 9 staff – okay. Count the presenter
    & that gives you 10. The Presenter will spend most
    of the day becoming familiar with all nightly reports
    that are usually ‘news breaking’. The other 9 are
    first class journalists not ‘in studio’ either cross
    -checking stories, organizations & people to be
    presented that very night. No lunch hours, old
    son. Often no breakfast either. Late afternoon
    moves to double check the coverage just in case
    some information is missed. You cannot & Will
    Not make mistakes. Why? Well, the 10 who were
    part & parcel of the night’s presentation can’t
    afford the slightest mishap. Why… if the smallest
    mistake is made the ABC will end up facing a
    Court battle. Now divide your 5000K by 10…
    no-one is earning big money doing a 15/16 hour
    shift. Get it????? Add Camera man/woman &
    final editing.

  10. Remove one 0 to make 500k Barrow. I had
    my right eye operation on Friday & I’m not
    seeing all that well…. especially zeros.

  11. Barrow, irony! I love the ABC and there is no way any of the commercial media networks would be prepared to offer the regional and emergency coverage they do. Your statements regarding Jacinta Price? are inaccurate and the ABC have visited Aboriginal communities. Ironically it was Lateline being hoodwinked by the fabricated account of a fake youth worker who was actually an adviser working for Mal Brough that initiated the over reactive intervention in the NT! And what a success that was?

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