ABC Alumni welcomes the government’s announcement that indexation of the ABC’s operational budget will be restored, and that the funding for Enhanced News Gathering in regional and rural Australia will continue.
However, the government’s claim that, overall, the public broadcasters’ budgets have been increased must be treated with caution. Coalition governments since 2014 have cut more than half a billion dollars, cumulatively, from the ABC’s direct funding. The ABC lost almost $200 million more over those years due to the cancellation, in 2014, of the 10-year DFAT contract for ABC International’s Australia Network television service in the Asia-Pacific.
Promises not to cut the ABC’s budget have been repeatedly broken by Coalition governments.
ABC Alumni maintains that the current three-year funding agreements should be replaced by five-year agreements, to guarantee funding across elections, and provide certainty of planning for ABC management. The ALP has announced that it supports five-year agreements. We are disappointed that the Coalition government has not yet supported this change.
Meanwhile the precise budget allocations to the ABC and SBS will need close scrutiny.
Jonathan Holmes, Chair
On behalf of Directors, ABC Alumni Limited
7 February 2022